"Cleveland Style" Clambake

A little known fact: Cleveland is the clambake capital of the country. I don't know why this is, but my fish purveyors tell me that from August through September they sell more clams to Cleveland than to any other city in the country. My interpretation of the clambake is not traditional; it's done more in the style of a crab boil, with sausage, corn, clams and shrimp all layered in a pot and cooked together. To serve this, I dump the whole pot out onto a table lined with newspaper or a plastic tablecloth. You can put it in a big serving bowl, but the effect of dumping it out onto a table is stunning. I learned the service trick from Susie Heller, former Clevelander and a coauthor on numerous wonderful books, and I prepared this clambake on Dinner Impossible; we made six huge vats to serve four hundred people. But it's a no-brainer, and it's one of the best, most dramatic one-pot family meals there is.

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