For many vacationers, no vacation on Cape Cod or on the Islands would
be complete without lobster. While most seafood markets will cook the lobsters for
you, many vacation rentals come equipped with lobster steamers, so you can cook
your own. Steam them in a few inches of water for about 20 minutes to the pound
or until they are red but retain a slight amount of dark splotching on the shell.
Serve with fresh local sweet corn and plenty of melted butter.
Steamed Lobster Dinner
You can replicate a lobster bake, with sausage, potatoes, clams and corn, without
all the work of digging a pit. All you need is a gas or charcoal grill. (See our
recipe at the end of this article.)
There are two types of clams -- hard shell and soft shell.
Soft shelled clams are also called "steamers" and are found only in New England
and the Chesapeake Bay. The live in "the flats," the somewhat mucky sand left behind
at low tide. You’ll literally dig with your hands and pull them loose.
Hard shelled clams, also known as quahogs (CO-hogs), live in bays and along beaches
in the sand just beneath the water. They are harvested by raking. Licenses are required
by all towns in order to harvest shellfish.
Both types of clams can be easily steamed in an inch or so of water, if you do not
have a proper steamer. It only takes a few minutes, and you’ll know the clams are
cooked when their shells begin to open up.
Cape Cod Steamers
Cape Cod Lobster Bake Prepared on the Grill (serves 4)
- 4 Cape Cod lobsters, about 1 1/4 pounds each
- 4 ears sweet corn, shucked except for innermost leaves
- 2 lbs steamer clams, cleaned
- 2 lbs mussels, cleaned
- 1 lb linguica (or other firm sausage), cut into four pieces
- 12 small red potatoes
- 2 cups water
- 5 lbs fresh seaweed (or add 2 teaspoons of salt to cooking water and aluminum foil)
In a large roasting pan or steamer, place one-inch layer of seaweed or a layer of
crumpled aluminum foil or on a rack.
Parboil the potatoes. Shuck the corn except for the innermost leaves.
Place lobster on seaweed or aluminum foil; arrange corn and sausage between the
lobster and the sides of the pan.
Place clams, mussels, and potatoes gently over the lobster. Keep the top of the
pan contents level.
Cover with remaining seaweed and add water (salted if no seaweed) over the top.
Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil or a lid and place on preheated grill to
cook. Make sure the grill is very hot.
When steam becomes visible, cook covered for 20 minutes. Check potatoes for doneness
-- if they are cooked, the lobsters should be also. (Properly cooked lobsters should
be red with just a slight bit of black mottling on the shell.)
Remove from heat, but leave covered for 5 more minutes.
Serve with lemon and melted butter.