This set of directions for a backyard clambake on the barbecue grill is adapted from the cookbook Chrissi’s Fish Tales by Chrissi Pappas, president of the Ipswich Shellfish Company, which was established in 1935 by her husband George. Her version, with Italian sausages, garlic and herbs, shows her Mediterranean (Greek) background.
Makes 8 servings.
8 pieces of heavy-duty aluminum foil (24 x 24 inches each)
8 pieces cheesecloth (24 x 24 inches each)
1 pound uncooked Italian sausage cut into 2-inch pieces
1 pound small Red Bliss potatoes, quartered
2 leeks (white parts only) cut into ¼-inch rounds
8 dozen steamers, Manila, or littleneck clams, well scrubbed
8 sprigs fresh rosemary
8 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bunch chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon peppercorns
8 cloves garlic, minced
4 bottles beer
Light the barbecue grill and set the heat to high.
1. Place the pieces of foil on a flat surface and put a square of cheesecloth on top. On each, dividing equally, layer in the following order the sausage, potatoes, leeks, clams, herbs, peppercorns and garlic. Tie the cheesecloth corners to make a bundle, then fold up the foil sides to make a pouch. Pour half a bottle of beer into each. Seal the packets tightly.
2. Set the packets on the hot grill and cook for 30 minutes. Check to see that the clams have opened and the potatoes are cooked through. Put each packet on a serving plate for each diner to open. (Any unopened clams should be discarded.) Accompany with cold beer.