If you’ve spent any time on a New England beach during the summer season, you’ve likely heard of — or even been to — a “shore dinner.” Along the lines of clam bakes and oyster roasts, alfresco shore dinners are when a group of people get together on the beach, start a campfire and make a seafood-centric one-pot dinner under the summer sun. They’re blissful.
In the absence of an actual beach, make your own shore dinner at home in less time than it would take to find a spot to spread your beach towel. Clams are the traditional shellfish of choice, but mussels or shrimp are just as delicious. If you reach for mussels, which are traditionally pretty inexpensive, a few pounds will easily feed a crowd with the help of a few filling ears of corn and some potatoes.
Always remember: When preparing shellfish, go for freshness first. Keep the little guys stored on ice, prepare them within a day or two of buying them and discard any shells that don’t open after steaming.
“You ready to try a New England summer classic? Shore am.”
“Shore Dinner” Mussels
Total Time: 20 min
Prep: 5 min
Cook: 15 min
Yield: 4 servings
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large sweet onion
1 pound baby red potatoes, quartered
2 ears corn, shucked and cut into 6 pieces
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
One 12-ounce can beer, such as ale or lager
Salt and ground black pepper
2 pounds mussels, scrubbed and beards removed
Crusty bread, for serving, optional
Place a large pot over medium heat with the butter and olive oil. Add onion, potatoes and corn, and cook until onions are tender, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and thyme, and cook until aromatic, about 1 minute. Add beer, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil; simmer for 5 minutes.
Add mussels and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mussel shells have opened, 3 to 4 minutes. Discard any mussels that don’t open and serve immediately with crusty bread.
Patrick W. Decker’s life revolves around food. Always has, probably always will. As a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America and past member of the culinary teams for Food Network stars Rachael Ray, Sandra Lee, Marc Forgione and Bobby Deen, he now works on digital production for FoodNetwork.com, CookingChannelTV.com and Food.com in NYC by day and develops recipes at his home in New York’s Hudson Valley by night. You can see what he’s up to by following him on Twitter & Instagram at @patrickwdecker or visiting his website at patrickwdecker.com.