Paul Koster's, aka "Cutter," Tips For How to Have the Summer's Best Clambake
According to “the Clamman” Paul Koster—whom everyone knows as Cutter—the perfect clambake recipe is “a great group of friends on the beach and some lobsters, steamers, and corn.” While the Clamman in Southampton is famous for its preassembled Clambake-in-a-Can (a five-gallon can serves four), if you have the time and inclination, it can be more fun to do it yourself.
“Two ingredients are essential to a great clambake,” Koster says. “Meaty lobsters from cold water and fresh corn on the cob. I get my lobster from Canada and my corn from the Halsey farm stand on Deerfield Road. Then you add the sides: local littleneck clams from Shinnecock or Peconic bay, local hand-dunked steamers, and cold-water mussels from Prince Edward Island.”
1. In a big bucket, soak 10 ears of corn in their husks in saltwater from the ocean. Meanwhile, get a large grill going and let the charcoal burn down.
2. Fill the bottom of a big pot with three inches of fresh water, place on the grill until the water steams, and drop in 10 1¼-pound lobsters. Cook 15 minutes.
3. While the lobsters are cooking, roll wet ears of corn on another section of the grill, steaming them inside their husks, until they start to char, about 15 minutes.
4. Move ears to the side to keep them from burning and place 5 dozen littleneck clams on the grill, cooking till they pop open, just a few minutes or so.
5. In a small pot, make an herb butter by melting 8 ounces olive oil, ½ pound (2 sticks) butter, 5 peeled and finely minced cloves of garlic, and a thick handful each of chopped fresh basil and parsley.
6. Remove the cooked lobsters from their pot, split them down the tail, and crack the claws. Add 5 pounds each of mussels and steamers to the lobster pot (make sure the water is still boiling) and pour the herb butter over all, steaming the mollusks for 10 minutes.
7. Serve seafood and corn with lemon wedges and some melted clarified butter, and provide plenty of lobster bibs and napkins.
What to Drink
• With its aromas of grapefruit, kaffir lime, and lemon zest, Macari’s Katherine’s Field Sauvignon Blanc ($23) is like a spray of lemon on shellfish.
• Made in stainless-steel tanks, Channing Daughters Scuttlehole Chardonnay ($18) has green-apple crispness and nice minerality.
• Lieb Cellars’ Bridge Lane White Blend ($46 for a three-liter box, equivalent to four bottles) is a citrusy mix of six white grapes, with tangy notes of stone fruit and tangerine.
• Made from grapes grown in Mendocino, California, Clambake ($15) is a 100 percent Chardonnay made expressly to pair with clambakes.
• A wheat-based Belgian-style beer with flavors of coriander, lemon, and orange zest, Southampton Publick House Brewery’s “Double White” ($10 for a six-pack) has refreshing citrus notes.
• Greenport Harbor Brewing Company’s “Summer Ale” ($14 for a 64-ounce bottle) is a lightly hopped golden ale, with flavors of orange blossom, lemon, and honey.
A version of this article appeared in the August 1, 2014 issue of Hamptons Cottages & Gardens with the headline: Clam Dunk!