For the ultimate in summer entertaining, serve up a briny, steamed seafood extravaganza featuring lobster, clams, new potatoes, corn, and sausages. It’s simple to do, but to get your medley to come out perfectly you’ll need just the right gadgets. These tools of the trade are essential for any clam boil:
1. Large pot with a tightly-fitting lid
You’ll need a 6- to 8-gallon pot for a four-person clam boil; for larger parties, figure two gallons per individual. Large steaming pots with two compartments — a bottom part for the steaming liquid and an upper part with steam holes for the clambake components — can be found at most hardware or kitchen supply stores.
2. Metal rack
If you don't have a two-compartment seafood steamer, you'll need something to elevate the ingredients about two inches above the boiling water. An upside-down metal colander can do the trick, or check out a kitchen-supply store for a round metal rack with legs.
3. Mesh bags
Some seafood stores carry mesh bags for clam boils; otherwise, you can use old five-pound onion bags or tie up squares of cheesecloth with kitchen twine.
4. Lobster crackers or nutcrackers