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Clambake

Australian Gourmet Traveller recipe for clambake by The Bucket List in Bondi.

By Tom Walton
  • Serves 8
  • 35 mins preparation
  • 30 mins cooking
Clambake
Clambake

"This is one of my favourite ways to cook seafood," says Walton. "The secret to a great clambake lies in the quality of the seafood and the company you share it with." A traditional clambake is cooked in a firepit lined with sea stones and seaweed, although Walton cooks his in a coal barbecue. You can also place a heatproof bowl filled with water in a hot kettle barbecue, place the barbecue rack on top and then place the seafood bundles on the rack. Cover and cook until the clams open (12-15 minutes). Potatoes roasted among the hot coals make the perfect accompaniment to this dish. Choose small potatoes, wrap them individually in foil and place them in the coals when you add the sea stones.

Ingredients

  • 48 Cloudy Bay diamond shell clams, or other small-sized clams
  • 24 Cloudy Bay tuatua clams, or other clams
  • 40 mussels, scrubbed and beards removed
  • 16 uncooked medium tiger prawns
  • 3 lemons, thinly sliced
  • 8 thyme sprigs
Potato aïoli
  • 150 gm sebago potato, diced
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 10 gm garlic, finely grated on a microplane
  • 250 ml grapeseed oil (1 cup)
  • 125 ml extra-virgin olive oil (½ cup)
  • To taste: lemon juice
Marie Rose sauce
  • 200 gm good-quality mayonnaise
  • 50 gm tomato sauce or ketchup
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 10 ml brandy (optional)
  • To taste: few drops Tabasco sauce
  • To taste: lemon juice
Drawn butter
  • 200 gm unsalted butter, coarsely chopped
  • ¼ cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped

Method

Main
  • 1
    For potato aïoli, place potato in a saucepan, cover generously with cold water, bring to the boil over medium-high heat and cook until tender (8-10 minutes). Drain well, pass through a ricer or coarse sieve and keep hot. Whisk yolks and garlic in a separate bowl to combine, then mix in hot potato. Whisking continuously, gradually add combined oils until thick and emulsified, thinning with a little hot water if mixture gets too thick. Season to taste with lemon juice, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and refrigerate until required.
  • 2
    For Marie Rose sauce, combine ingredients in a bowl, season to taste with lemon juice, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and refrigerate until required.
  • 3
    Build a fire in a kettle barbecue using fire lighters and hardwood logs or charcoal. Once fire has burnt down to hot charcoal, place sea stones in hot coals and leave for an hour to get very hot (add more wood or charcoal if necessary).
  • 4
    Meanwhile, cut eight 40cm squares of muslin and place on a work surface. Divide clams, mussels, prawns, lemon and thyme sprigs evenly among muslin squares, season to taste and tie into pouches, securing with kitchen string (ensure string isn’t plastic-coated or it will melt). Refrigerate until required.
  • 5
    When rocks are red-hot, place some wet seaweed over, then arrange pouches on top. Cover with a potato sack or pillowcase soaked in beer or water. Close lid and cook until clams open and prawns are cooked (35-40 minutes).
  • 6
    Meanwhile, for drawn butter, cook butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat until milk solids separate and are slightly caramelised on bottom of pan, creating a slight nutty flavour (6-7 minutes). Strain into a heatproof bowl, add remaining ingredients, season to taste and keep warm.
  • 7
    Serve seafood pouches hot with scissors for cutting them open, and potato aïoli, Marie Rose sauce and drawn butter.