When I was a kid, my favorite summer event was a mid-August giant lobster and steamer extravaganza. My family would get together with friends, usually about 20 of us, and set up long tables on the porch covered in newspaper for the big meal. There was plenty of melted butter for the seafood and crunchy loaves of bread to sop up any extra juices.
Summer in New England is all about great seafood. This year I've been to Cape Cod for fried shrimp and clams and Maine for exquisite lobsters straight out of the "pound." But there's no need to travel for these kinds of goodies. It's easy to make fabulous summer seafood recipes at home. And luckily it's simple to make them healthier and just as delicious.
Some of my other seafood favorites that we've made healthier include:
Clams Casino We cut some of the butter, and give it plenty of flavor with lean Canadian bacon and a little smoked paprika.
Fish Tacos Forget deep-fried fish, our Test Kitchen Manager Stacy developed these battered and fried Baja-style tacos that use a pan-frying technique, with just a little oil. The fish is coated in a flavorful beer batter that incorporates whole-grains. Just add a little shredded cabbage and you're set.
This week, for my husband's birthday, I made homemade Grilled Lobster Rolls. I used just a bit of low-fat mayonnaise and a touch of fresh tarragon to give them bright flavor.
Easy Clambake at Home: There's no need to dig a pit; with a regular metal steamer basket, you can cook a clambake on your stovetop. Cover the table with newspaper and give everyone nutcrackers for the claws.
Makes 4 servings
ACTIVE TIME: 20 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 45 minutes
EASE OF PREPARATION: Moderate
1 pound small red-skinned potatoes
2 whole lobsters (about 1 1/2 pounds each)
12 cherrystone, steamer or littleneck clams, scrubbed
1/2 pound mussels, debearded and scrubbed
4 ears corn, husked and cut into thirds
1. Put 1 inch of water in a large stockpot and place a metal vegetable steamer fanned open in the bottom. Bring to a boil over high heat. Place potatoes on the steamer, cover the pot and steam for 4 minutes. Reduce the heat slightly, if necessary, to prevent boiling over.
2. Place lobsters on top of the potatoes; cover and steam for 4 minutes. Place clams and mussels on top of the lobsters and potatoes; cover and continue steaming for 4 minutes more. Place corn on top of the shellfish; cover and continue steaming until the clams have opened and the potatoes are tender, 4 to 8 minutes more.
3. Arrange the corn, mussels, clams and potatoes on large serving platters. Remove lobster claws and tails by twisting them from the body. Cut the tails lengthwise (see Tip). Discard the bodies. Add the split tails and claws to the platters and serve immediately.
TIP: How to Shell a Lobster:
1. Grasp claw at the knuckle, near the body. With a firm twist, remove the claw from the body. Repeat with the second claw.
2. To remove claw meat, crack through the claw shell using a pair of kitchen shears. (Alternatively, crack with a lobster cracker.)
3. Holding the body in one hand and firmly grasping the tail in the other, twist and gently pull the tail from the body. (Discard the body.)
4. Cut the tail in half lengthwise with kitchen shears, starting from the underside. Serve halves in the shell or remove the meat.
By Jessie Price
EatingWell food editor Jessie Price's professional background in food started when she worked in restaurant kitchens in the summers during college. She started out testing recipes for EatingWell and then joined the staff here full-time in 2004 when she moved to Vermont from San Francisco.
Related Links from EatingWell:
- Serve your clambake at home with dipping sauces: Asian Mignonette, Cocktail Sauce and Tartar Sauce.
- Sign up for EatingWell's free weekly newsletters and get healthy recipes, diet tips and nutrition news delivered right to your inbox.