Start with the largest stock pot you can find, a 12-quart pot at minimum.
Two pounds small red potatoes (or quartered Idaho russets)
Two pounds mild Italian sausage or other good sausage
Four ears of shucked sweet corn
Two dozen cherrystone clams, or a mix of larger clams and little necks or Manila clams
Two pounds live (or frozen) mussels
Four live 1.5 pound or larger lobsters, or equivalent amount of king, snow or other frozen crab in the shell
Two cups good white wine
One cup chicken stock
One cup, divided into three portions, melted and clarified butter
Chopped broadleaf parsley
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Rinse potatoes and cut sausage into one-inch segments. Mix and place together in the bottom of the pot. Stack the corn next. If you’re squeamish, execute the lobsters with a sharp knife through the top of the thorax, between the eyes, with the assistance of our friend the hammer. Put the lobsters (or crab) on top of the corn.
Put the clams and mussels on top of the lobsters. Pour in wine and chicken stock.
Cover tightly and bring to a boil for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking, covered, for at least 15 minutes. Make sure there is liquid in the bottom of the pot. Finally, let pot stand, covered, for 10 minutes with no heat.
When done, the clams and mussels should be almost all open. The lobsters should be cooked through, with the roe — the delicious female eggs — completely cooked and bright red. The potatoes, sausage and corn should be completely cooked.
Avoid just dumping the pot onto a platter, as there may be some sand in the bottom from the shellfish. Scoop clams and mussels onto a large platter, put the lobsters or crab on top, and then put the corn, potatoes and sausage into a large serving bowl with chopped parsley and a little drizzled butter.
Fresh cucumbers, sliced tomatoes with basil and dry white wine go well with any clambake.
Make sure you’ve got a lot of paper towels. This is messy, but in the best way.