Last night's winter rainstorm made me wish it was summer again. Every July Tom and I go to a little town up the coast called Summerland. We discovered it together on our first anniversary in 2009. We return there again and again each passing year.
It's a small and peaceful beach community just south of Santa Barbara. There is a local winery, a farmer's market and a bikini shop. Days are filled with lounging on the beach and warm summer evenings smell of lavender. We read, go on hikes and make our favorite New England style clambake. It has manilla clams, locally-caught pink Santa Barbara prawns, lobster tails, new potatoes and corn in a golden beer broth. A glass of Summerland Sauvignon Blanc with its grapefruit overtones and some sourdough bread are a perfect complement for this seafood feast.
2 medium onions, cut into large wedges
3 garlic cloves
1 bottle pale ale or medium-bodied beer
1/2 cup water
1 lb small new potatoes (white, red, or a combination)
1/2 lb hot dried chorizo, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 small lobster tails
12 manilla clams, scrubbed well
2 ears of corn, husked and halved
6 large shrimp, shell-on
1 tbsp unsalted butter
2 lemons, halved
1 bunch chopped chives, as garnish
Serves 2 to 4.
Combine onions, garlic, pale ale, and water in a large stockpot. Add potatoes, chorizo, and 1 tablespoon salt. Bring to a boil. Add lobster tails and cook over high heat, covered, for 15 minutes. Add clams and corn. Cook, covered, for 6 minutes. Add shrimp; cook, covered, until clams open and shrimp are cooked through, 4 to 8 minutes.
Remove seafood, corn, potatoes, and chorizo using tongs, and transfer to large platters. Discard any unopened clams. Strain liquid through a sieve into a bowl.
Add butter, swirling to melt. Squeeze lemons over clambake. Garnish with chopped chives.
Mmmm... I think I'll have to make this over the weekend and pretend it's summer.