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Gift from the Sea

Berkshire Kitchen

Gift from the Sea

by Jane Worthington-Roth

When I was young, every summer my cousins and I would look forward to sharing a Clam Boil. Although clams seem to be available year-round, summer just didn’t seem complete until we indulged ourselves in that briny treat. It’s the perfect family picnic type of meal. I like to add some Portuguese-style chourico sausage to the boil – it packs a lot of flavor without a lot of trouble. In August, Berkshire farmers markets all offer local onions, potatoes and sweet corn, so now is the best time to enjoy this summertime treat!

Serve it in deep bowls with a cup of the broth on the side for dipping the clams. I always knew when my dad and my uncles had eaten their fill because they would finish the meal by gulping down the cup of broth! This meal is best served outside – even though you set the table with forks, knives and spoons, you’ll definitely use your hands for the clams and corn. The following recipe serves four (or only two, if you love clam boils as much as I do). Just double or quadruple the recipe when the cousins show up!

Clam Boil

1 link of chourico, cut into 4 pieces (I prefer Gaspar brand chourico)
2 medium onions, peeled and cut lengthwise into quarters, leaving the stem end attached so they don’t fall apart
8 Yukon gold potatoes, left whole if baby potatoes but cut in half if large (if the skin is delicate, you don’t need to peel them just scrub them well)
4 hot dogs, cut in half
Clam juice
Bottle of beer
4 ears sweet corn, shucked and cut in half
32 littleneck (cherrystone) clams, scrubbed well

1. In a large pot, put in the chourico, onions, and potatoes. Pour in just enough water to cover, then add a bottle of clam juice and a bottle or can of beer. What’s wonderful about this recipe is that the cheapest brand of beer makes it taste the best! Save the good beer for sipping and pour something like a can of Busch beer into the pot.

2. Bring to a boil then simmer for about 8 minutes until the potatoes are almost fork-tender.

3. Add in the hot dogs and sweet corn and cook for another 5 minutes.

4. Put in the clams, cover, and simmer until the shells pop open, about 5 minutes. Discard any clams that don’t open.

Serve the boil with some crusty bread for sopping up all the delicious broth. It tastes especially delicious when accompanied by a local beer such as my favorite – Berkshire Brewing Company’s Berkshire Pal Ale.

In the words of Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s classic Gift from the Sea, “one should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach - waiting for a gift from the sea"– and gifts should be shared! Share your clam boil and all BerkshireStyle recipes with your friends and family.

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