Food: A Cleveland clambake on the shores of Lake Erie
A weekend visit to my sister, Suzanne, in Cleveland is always a guarantee that good food and drink will be consumed. Now that she and her husband live on the west shore of Lake Erie, a fabulous view is thrown into the mix.
My daughter, Rachael, and grandson, Kahleb, joined in the fun for a grand time of a little fishing and swimming then off to an Indians game (don’t ask). To celebrate the gathering, my sister decided that this recipe from Cleveland chef Michael Symon would be the perfect meal: a Cleveland clambake — only with some slight variations. It’s a dramatic one-pot meal that is reminiscent of a New England clambake done more in the style of a crab boil; with sausage, corn, clams, potatoes and shrimp all layered in a pot and cooked together.
According to Symon, there’s this little-known fact: Cleveland is the clambake capital of the country. His fish purveyors tell him that from August through September they sell more clams to Cleveland than to any other city in the country, thanks to all the clambakes that are held there. Symon’s nontraditional interpretation was so easy to do and while the pot simmered on the grill, we enjoyed a gorgeous sunset, cocktails and a heated game of bocce.
To serve this, we piled the contents onto a large serving platter and placed it in the middle of the table so we could help ourselves. Then we sat back and watched the night creep in over the lake. It was both beautiful and delicious.
1 pound smoked kielbasa, sliced in 1/2-inch disks
2 ears of corn, each cut into 4 pieces
3 1/2 pounds littleneck clams, scrubbed clean
1 pound shell-on medium (16- to 20-count) shrimp, deveined
8 small redskin potatoes (parboiled)
2 tablespoons coriander seeds, toasted
1 tablespoon cumin seeds, toasted
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 Fresno chilies, sliced into rings (optional)
1 bay leaf
1 head of garlic, halved
1 lemon, quartered
1 red onion, peeled and roughly chopped
One 750-milliliter bottle dry white wine
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, optional
In a large pot with a lid, add the food in layers — the kielbasa first, followed by the corn, clams, shrimp and potatoes. Distribute the coriander, cumin, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, chilies, bay leaf, garlic, lemon and onions over the top. Pour in the wine, cover and cook over high heat until the clams open, 20 to 25 minutes.
Discard the bay leaf and any clams that do not open. Strain the clambake and sprinkle with cilantro, if using. Serve. Serves 6.
Per serving: 570 calories; 27 g fat (7 g saturated fat; 43 percent calories from fat); 30 g carbohydrates; 6 g sugar; 242 mg cholesterol; 2,505 mg sodium; 54 g protein; 4 g fiber.