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So Long Summer

Sometimes I think that Labor Day is my favorite holiday of the year. I am usually thinking that in July and August when it is 100 degrees outside, and I am growing weary of long, hot summer days.

Then, I see that it’s almost Labor Day, and that means fall is on the way. So long summer, it’s time for a cool down! Even though it’s still a bit warm, I start getting excited about eating outside and grilling – all things I avoid during the dog days of summer because who wants to stand over a hot grill when it’s just as hot outside.

That means the last long weekend of summer deserves a proper celebration. Now I know it will still be hot, but this recipe has two big advantages: quick cooking and closing the lid of the grill.

When I was a kid, we used to visit my cousins in New York for Labor Day. They lived on Long Island, and they’d always throw a clambake party. That’s not exactly possible here, but this recipe for Scampi-Style Grilled Shellfish comes close.

What goes in it really depends on what’s available in the FRESH seafood market, and typically everything in this recipe should be there. Shrimp, scallops, crab legs, claws, mussels and clams are all great choices. You can also get a few fish fillets and cut them into cubes to add to the mixture. The key is that all of your fish and shellfish cook at the same rate. You don’t want overcooked shrimp or undercooked fish. Consider the size of things and their typical cooking times.

Also, remember to discard any clams or mussels that are already open prior to cooking and any that did not open during cooking. Those little guys are not edible. If you’re feeling indulgent, you can also grab a couple of lobster tails to cook directly on the grill grate. All you need on the side is lots of melted butter and some crusty baguettes to soak up all the sauce.

Scampi-Style Grilled Shellfish

4 dozen assorted shellfish (large shrimp, sea scallops, crab claws/legs, mussels or clams)
1/2 cup butter
2 cups white wine
1 cup water
juice from 3 lemons
1 lemon, sliced into thin rounds
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
disposable aluminum roasting pan

If using mussels or clams, clean and scrub outside of shells. Rinse off grit and sand. Discard any that are not completely closed or have a cracked shell. Do not debeard mussels until right before cooking. Peel and devein shrimp.

Heat grill to high heat. Place roasting pan on grill. Add butter and let melt. Add wine, water, lemon juice, lemon rounds, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes and salt. Close grill and allow liquid to heat until steaming.

Place all shellfish in pan. Stir everything together with a large spoon. Close the lid; turn grill heat down to medium. Let steam for about 2 minutes, and then stir again. As shellfish open or finish cooking, remove from the pan to a large serving bowl. The shrimp will cook fastest, and the clams will take the longest to open. Shrimp should be pink and curled, scallops opaque, and clams and mussels opened. Discard any clams or mussels that do not open. Do not try to pry open.

Pour the liquid from the pan over the cooked shellfish. Add parsley. Serve with rice or toasted baguette slices.

Serves 4

Note: Purchase clams and mussels no more than 24 hours in advance of cooking. Fill a colander with ice, and place the mussels and clams on top of the ice. Place the colander in a larger bowl, discarding melted water periodically. You want your shells to stay on top of the ice and not be floating in water.

Calories per Serving : 360, Fat: 24 g (15 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 90 mg, Sodium: 771 mg, Carbohydrates: 7 g, Fiber: 1 g, Protein: 9 g

View this recipe to print or add items to your shopping list.