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Aug 9, 2011 03:06 PM

Fresh Atlantic seaweed for clambake?

I'm having a country clambake next weekend and was wondering if any of the local fish markets sell fresh North Eastern Atlantic brown seaweed to source, or whether anyone knows where I can find some?


PS - also looking for commercial sized (20-30 qt) stainless steel stock pot, while I'm at.

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    1. FWIT, I was at Walmart last week and saw an outdoor cooker like this
      on sale. I don't know the price. (they have them @ Canadian tire as well


      Don't know offhand what markets for the seaweed, but I'd suggest giving Norref a call, they have retail and wholesale, maybe someone can rustle some up for you.

      Just curious, are you going with softshell or hardshell clams?

      1. Thanks, I'll call around about the seaweed and hopefully someone can dig it up or get an order in... would probably prefer just a regular stock pot to that cooker though, as I can use a large pot for things like this. I'm gonna dig up a makeshift barbecue pit at the cottage and just pop it on top!

        I think I'll probably go with a few dozen cherrystone clams (hardshell) with some live Maine lobsters and king crabs, sweet corn husks, fingerlings, and summer squash. Was gonna ask the fishmonger about Atlantic sea scallops too... I wonder if I threw in a couple of pounds on top if the cooking time is proportionate? Ever tried steaming large scallops in a clambake?

        I think I'll probably give it a shot... gonnna go beer hunting for the best import pale ales I can find tomorrow. Any inside tips on that'd be appreciated too, though I'm not expecting much. I'm betting Le Paradis doesn't even carry stuff like Sierra Nevada.

        16 Replies
        1. re: OliverB

          We do a lobster or crawfish boil at least once a year and have a couple of dedicated washtubs for it like this

          Cooking over a live fire blackens the hell outta the pot. (the cook kit, with propane, leaves a clean pot).

          Just FYI, I was in the basement grocery at Swatow in Chinatown last week, picked up a dozen live cherrystones for about $10 and they were really really good. They have scads of live lobster, but I didn't notice the price. Sometimes they'll have live rock crab for about $4 each, very tasty as well. I've also seen fresh scallops in the shell here, but only sporadically.

          Cant help too much on the best import ales - we usually go low-brow with PBR or Old Milwaukee.

          1. re: porker

            Thanks porker, I think I'll check out that country cooker afterall... I was just on Canadian Tire's site and its only ~ $65 at regular price, so it sounds like it could be a good deal! I'm guessing it's just a large commercial sized pot with propane starter, temp guage and stand; not unlike a portable camp bbq, but with large 30 qt. pot? If the price is right, I'll likely go for it and save the bonfire for marshmallows and smores!

            And thanks for the tip on Swatow too; I'll definitely look into that as well!! How big roughly were the cherrystones and what did you get on avg. per pound?

            I usually get my lobster and king crab from Poissonerie Atwater, and I've already asked them to order me some brown algae seaweed... I'll have to look into the scallops and see what's available. I've postponed until next weekend, so I've got some time to hunt around.

            I think I'm gonna swing by Charcuterie Fairmount for some Polish sausages, some sweet corn, fingerlings, sweet potatoes, carson carrots and yellow summer squash from the market, a couple of sourdoughs from Guillaume, and pass by Mamie Clafoutis for some meringue and lemon tarts.

            Now I just have this huge 48 quart Coleman's to fill with booze... still on the chase of some high quality import bottles!

            1. re: OliverB

              Just a note on the outdoor cook set - yeah, its made up of the stand/burner, hose/regulator, sometimes guage (not all models that I've seen), and pot. Two things: the pot, although large, is not necessarily commercial grade. It'll do the job for a clambake, corn or lobster boil, etc, just check to see if its to your liking. The set does not come with a propane bottle. If you have a propane grill, no problem, that bottle can be used. Otherwise, you'll have to buy another (figure $30 for bottle +$10-15 for the fill). Also, if you go the propane route, have the bottle full before you start - no fun having to leave the party to buy propane...
              If you don't go with the propane, you'll want a sturdy grate over the fire, one that won't cave in after a couple of hours on the heat.

              The Swatow cherrystones. They're smaller than a breadbox, but still big. About as big If you make a ring by touching your thumbs and index fingers together (or a lens on a pair of Jackie Onassis sunglasses). I was eating mine raw, so chose the smallest; I like the larger ones cooked. Per pound, I don't remember. Like I say, I bought 12 and it came to $9 and change, but I don't know the $/lb.

              Sounds like a good party!

              1. re: porker

                Thanks mate! I was thinking more in terms of quantity per pound (U/10-15), but the size sounds right; I'm after the big fellas!

                As for the cooker set, how do you regulate temp. without a guage if cooking with propane? I understand a campfire is a campfire, but would think there oughta be a regulator to adjust temp. I normally cook in a stovetop stock pot at medium heat for approx. 30 mins. and it does the trick lovely for a couple of people. We'll be closer to 15 though, which is why I wanted the larger commercial sized 30qt. cooker.

                I suppose I can just dig a firepit, line with stones, build a strong logfire, adn place the cooker on top... would have to check if the stand is made to endure that kind of abuse though. I'm guessing I won't have steamers in a half hour though... what's the average temp of a natural logfire flame anyway?

                If cooking directly over fire, I wonder if I shouldn't just invest in a non-stainless high grade cooking pot? I do like the idea of the propane bottle powered cooker... I'll have to check it out in person this aft and decide what's best. How long does it normally take you to cook through with your washtubs and do you pile everything in at the same time and just let it steam, as if cooking over stovetop?

                Thanks for all the helpful tips!

                1. re: OliverB

                  To regulate heat, its the same as a gas stove, turn the knobby. The burner flame is adjustable from low to high.

                  My buddy has a grate that in a previous life protected school windows from being broken. Kinda like a wire weave and tougher than nails. We build a u-shape with rocks and test for level on the grate, about 18" above the ground, room for firewood. Get a fire going, add grate, add washtub, add more wood for a roaring fire. Fill tub 3/4 with water from hose. Again, we haven't done clambakes (no steaming) but rather boils (lobster or crawdads). We wait for the water to come to a rolling boil then add all our stuff (seasonings, shellfish, potatoes, corn).
                  We'll boil lobster about 8 minutes per average pound, crawfish just a few minutes at the boil. We then take the tub off the fire and let stand so the flavors sink in. Voila. Granted the potatoes or corn are sometimes overdone but we gave up on trying to time the ingredients a long time ago.
                  That log fire gets REAL hot, way hotter than a burner. I'd say 3-5 gallons of cold water gets to a boil in about 15-20 minutes. You'll have the steamers quicker on a roaring fire than the propane burner.

                  This is different from a traditional clambake where you'd be steaming, but you'll do good whatever way you got, propane or fire.
                  Pros: Its a fire! / fast boil and high heat / adds to the cookout experience / great to stand around drinking beer while the women sit in the screen porch and talk.
                  Cons: blackens the shit outta the pot / heat gets intense, gotta plan ahead on how to lift a heavy pot from a pit of hell (we've had mitts/towels/shirts catch fire) / gotta plan on the fuel / two settings: not hot enough and too hot / gotta watch the kids
                  Pros: easy set up / can use on a deck / clean cooking / easier to regulate cooking / can cook anything on it if needed (corn for a BBQ, fry eggs when the power goes out, etc) / friends have cooker envy
                  Cons: it ain't a fire / longer to come to a boil / your friends are gonna want to borrow it and you won't get it back / gotta watch the kids

                  1. re: porker

                    Ah okay, by guage I actually meant a temp/flame regulator and not for the gas itself, so that's just perfect! I thought it was kind of odd that there would be no adjustment knob for the flame; makes much more sense now!

                    I'm definitely gonna spring for the country cooker and just prop it up fireside, without all the hassle and bother detailed above. So much easier and clean with a regulated flame... less time and exertion with prep, more spent knocking off with cold bottles (and maybe a jazz cigarette) haha, thanks again for all the helpful feedback, fella! I oughtta save you some leftovers!


                    1. re: OliverB

                      Just leftovers?...meh... Hehe.
                      PM me and I can give a pointer on where to get a few (for Quebec) unusual brewskies...

                2. re: porker

                  Ahhh, I might have my numbers wrong, or the price has changed. The wife and I were near Chinatown early this morning. There is a thread where someone fired up clams in a wine sauce and it got me salivating, so I stopped into Swatow again (the grocery is called GD). Live cherrystones plucked from the water, $1.49/lb. I picked up 10 for $4.84, so using that new math, they average about 50c each, so they're about 3 per lb.
                  Meanwhile the wife asks to hit a Super C on the way home and suggests Atwater. Ate snacks at the back of Premiere Moisson (still too early for Satay Bros which I have yet to try...............), pick up corn and fruit before heading to the Super C. Duck into the fish market: deadish, smaller cherrystones in the case cooler $5.95/lb.

                  Premiere Moisson
                  3025 Rue Saint-Ambroise, Montreal, QC H3J, CA

                  1. re: porker

                    Wow, thanks once again, porker... Swatow it is!!

                3. re: OliverB

                  There is an alternative to seaweed - I was told by a Chef that if you use salted Spinach it is just as good and a great alternative. Also the seaweed in Asian markets can be used as well.

              2. re: OliverB

                For the beer side, they have the Shipyard IPA from Maine at SAQ for 2.50 a bottle, taste really good and would go with your theme of northeast clambake

                1. re: westaust

                  Thanks a lot, I'll keep this as a backup if I can't find the premium ales I'm after!

                2. re: OliverB

                  If you're looking for US import beers, that's a pretty tall order. Quebec beer laws are archaic. Most import beers are through the SAQ (limited choice of predominantly mainstream beers) or are major international breweries. If you want a good selection of any US beer, you'd definitely have to make a day trip to Plattsburgh or Burlington then pay the taxes and duties... pretty pricey. I'd go to Peluso's on Rachel/Iberville and ask about premium IPA that are brewed in Quebec.

                  1. re: chickenbruiser

                    Yeah, thanks... I didn't realistically expect to find much locally unfortunately. I'll sometimes mail order seasonal ales on ocassion, but it's a shame the provincial laws are what they are. I suppose I could probably do worse than St. Ambroise IPA.

                    1. re: OliverB

                      Check this online article out. It'll point you in the direction of a couple of local places with amazing beer selections.


                    2. re: chickenbruiser

                      it's not just quebec, it's all of canada - the beer selection is terrible coast to coast

                      also you cannot simply return to canada expecting to pay duty and tax on anything that accompanies you. there are limits which i do not know off hand.