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A Pacific clambake is quicker, simpler ... don't forget the salsa.

Savor fresh deep-sea treasures at this West Coast version of an Eastern clambake. Because seafood is grilled rather than buried in sand with hot rocks and seaweed, this picnic is easier and quicker to prepare--at the beach, in a park, even in your garden.

Menu partners are tuna steaks, shrimp, clams, oysters, corn on the cob, and small potatoes. Enliven their flavors with freshly made salsas, and accompany with loaves of crusty bread and a dry Sauvignon Blanc or a crisp Chardonnay. Offer grapes and cookies for dessert.

You can cook on several small barbecues or 1 large one; or, if the recreation area has grills, make use of them. You'll need charcoal briquets for fuel and insulated chests to transport food and beverages.

Pacific Mixed Grill

8 large ears corn 16 to 24 jumbo (1 to 1 1/2 lb. total) shrimp Boiled potatoes (directions follow) 16 to 24 medium-size oysters in shells, scrubbed 16 to 24 clams in shells, suitable for steaming, scrubbed 1 to 1 1/2 pounds ahi tuna or swordfish steaks, about 1 inch thick, rinsed Green salsa (recipe follows) Red salsa (recipe follows)

Pull back corn husks to remove silk, then re-cover corn with husks and soak ears in water for 1 hour; drain. To devein shrimp, insert a toothpick beneath vein between joints on back of shell. Gently pull up and out to draw out vein; repeat as needed. If done ahead, cover and chill corn and shrimp until next day.

Cover barbecue grates with a solid layer of charcoal briquets. Mound briquets and ignite; when dotted with gray ash, in 20 to 30 minutes, spread coals level and place grills 3 to 6 inches above them. Unwrap pan of potatoes, add about 1 inch water, and set pan on a grill. Cook until potatoes are hot and tender when pierced, about 15 minutes. Set pan close to barbecue to keep potatoes warm as remaining foods cook.

To maintain steady heat 1 hour or longer (so you can cook foods a few pieces at a time), scatter about 1/4 more briquets on hot coals 30 minutes after igniting them and every 30 minutes thereafter.

Lay corn, shrimp, oysters (cupped side down), clams, and tuna on grill over hot coals (you can hold your hand at grill level only 2 to 3 seconds).

Turn corn often until kernels are hot and turn more translucent, about 15 minutes. Cook shrimp until just opaque in center (cut to test), about 10 minutes; turn once. Cook oysters just until they open slightly, and clams until they pop open, 8 to 12 minutes.

Cook tuna until opaque on surface but still pink in center (cut to test), 6 to 8 minutes; turn once. Cook swordish until opaque but still moist-looking in center (cut to test), 8 to 10 minutes; turn once. Add salsa to seafood and vegetables to taste. Makes 8 servings.

Per serving seafood and vegetables: 274 cal.; 31 g protein; 4 g fat (0.6 g sat.); 32 g carbo.; 126 mg sodium; 105 mg chol.

Boiled potatoes. Scrub 24 small (1 1/2- to 2-in. diameter) thin-skinned red potatoes. Put potatoes in a 5- to 6-quart pan and add water to barely cover.

Up to 6 hours before serving, bring potatoes to a boil. Cover and simmer until potatoes are barely tender when pierced, about 15 minutes; drain. To keep them warm up to 4 hours, carry in an insulated chest or wrap in about a 1-inch layer of newspaper.

Green salsa. Mix 1 pound tomatillos (available in many supermarkets or at Mexican grocery stores), husked, cored, and chopped; 2 medium-size (about 1 lb. total) firm-ripe avocados, peeled, pitted, and diced; 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion; 1/2 cup lime juice; 1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro (coriander); 1/4 cup minced Spanish-style olives. Add salt and pepper to taste. If made ahead, cover and chill up to 6 hours. Makes 4 1/2 cups.

Per tablespoon: 12 cal.; 0.2 g protein; 1 g fat (0.2 g sat.); 0.8 g carbo.; 12 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.

Red salsa. In a 6- to 8-inch frying pan, cook 1/4 cup minced garlic in 1 tablespoon salad oil over low heat, stirring often, until soft and sweet, about 10 minutes. Mix garlic, 3 large (about 1 1/2 lb. total) firm-ripe tomatoes, cored and chopped; 1 medium-size (about 6 oz.) onion, minced; 1/3 cup lemon juice; 1 or 2 tablespoons minced canned chipotle chiles (in some supermarkets or Mexican grocery stores); and salt to taste. If made ahead, cover and chill up to 6 hours. Makes 4 cups.

Per tablespoon: 7 cal.; 0.2 g protein; 0.3 g fat (0 g sat.); 1 g carbo.; 8.3 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.
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Title Annotation:recipes
Date:Aug 1, 1991
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