Today we celebrate our independence. My wife is in Bosnia performing in front of a whole bunch of our brave young soldiers today. That is her way of celebrating our independence. I miss her and wrote to her saying that when we are together we are better individuals. The same is true with our world, our country, our schools, our communities and our places of worship. We celebrate what is best in each individual when we are together. We are a social race and need to see the looks on others faces and joy in others hearts. With that reassurance we can go forth and be independent.
I am celebrating this independence day alone. I am not lonely, just by myself. I am grateful for this time to reflect and enjoy being responsible for only me. I get to cook and read and write this silly blog without interruption. I am taking advantage of this quiet summer day to really enjoy myself.
Many people live by themselves and enjoy it immensely. I have known single people who will never get married because they love living on their own too much. Young people starting out often live on their own and obviously some older people do as well. As you probably know, I wrote a book for these folks and anyone that likes to cook on their own. Today, I am including a special 4th of July/summer picnic dish for one. Crusty old New Englanders would actually call this a Clam Boil since I am not cooking it on the beach on a bunch of hot rocks and seaweed. I’ll stick with bake since it is neither strictly baking or boiling – it’s actually steaming.
Like so many of my favorite dishes, this can be made with just about anything. I have included some of the traditional ingredients here, but you could just empty the fridge and steam it up. Happy 4th of July!
Serves One with a little left over
- 5-6 Live Mussels, de-bearded if necessary
- 3-4 Manilla Clams
- 3-4 Large Shrimp, de-veined
- 3-4 Small Potatoes (white or red)
- 2 Sausages (your choice)
- 2 Ears Corn
- 1 Onion
- 1 Fennel Bulb
- 1 Cup Chicken or Fish Broth
- 1/2 Cup White Wine
- Collard Greens Spread (Optional)
- Bay Leaf
- Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper
- Large Stock Pot with Lid
- Chef’s Knife
- Aluminum Foil
- Shuck the corn and cut in half.
- Cut the onion and fennel into large pieces.
- In the bottom of the stock pot, add a little olive oil and a tablespoon of butter.
- Briefly saute the onions and fennel. Salt well and pepper. You could also add other spices and herbs.
- Add herbs whole and a couple tablespoons of the collard greens. This adds a salty, sea flavor similar to the seaweed and saltwater like the beach party big brother of this dish.
- Add layers of vegetables, then sausage, then seafood.
- Pour in broth, wine and enough water to cover about half way.
- Bring to a boil then turn down to simmer.
- Cover with lid then cover lid with aluminum foil. Simmer for about 45 minutes.
- Melt some butter for dipping.
- Carefully remove the top and remove the vegetables, sausage and seafood into a bowl.
- Serve with some rustic bread and melted butter for dipping.