Spicy Clam Boil

A favorite summer tradition of mine is the clam bake—which doesn’t involve baking, but a labor-intensive process where you dig a hole in the sand, get a fire roaring, then douse it with salt water to steam seafood and seaweed on the piping-hot rocks. Since most of us can’t just light up anywhere we darn well please, this recipe captures that breezy, briny spirit from the convenience of the stove. The directions look complicated, but they’re really meant to be more of a loose guide than a must-do—the most important thing is to throw in the things that need to cook longest first.

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Spicy Clam Boil


  • 2 sticks Butter
  • 4 White onions (quartered)
  • 6 Cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp Red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 c White wine
  • 1 c Water
  • 1 1/2 lbs New potatoes (bigger ones cut in half)
  • 1 lb Andouille sausage (in 1” thick slices)
  • 10 ears Corn (halved)
  • 4 Lemons (quartered)
  • 5 dozen Littleneck clams (scrubbed and rinsed to remove sand)
  • 1 lb Extra jumbo shrimp
  • 1 tbsp Dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp Cajun seasoning (optional)

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  • Melt one stick of butter in very large pot*, then add onion, garlic, red pepper and wine. Simmer for one minute, then add water and bring to a boil.
  • Add potatoes and sausage; cover and cook for 8 minutes.
  • Add corn, lemons and clams; cover and cook until most clams are open, about 5 minutes.
  • Add shrimp; cover and cook until opaque, about 5 minutes.
  • Remove corn, sausage, clams and shrimp and place on a platter.
  • For dipping sauce: Place remaining stick of butter, oregano and seasoning into a blender. Add cooking liquid, including the onion, garlic and lemons (squeezed) and blend.

*Note: A tall lobster or pasta pot is ideal, but if you don’t have one, split yours between two shorter (but still large) pots. You may need to add a little extra water to do it; if that’s the case, then use less of the cooking liquid for the dipping sauce at the end.

Spicy Clam Boil
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