For those of you who haven’t decided on your Fourth of July menu, you may want to consider this exceptional, Summer-inspired Kitchen Clambake from The Barefoot Contessa. This delicious mixture of succulent lobster, shrimp, clams and hearty kielbasa has always been one of my favorite Fourth of July meals. It provides all the delightful flavors of Summer without all the schlepping and sand of a clambake on the beach. The flavors are also beautifully enhanced by the Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc, which Ina recommends serving with it in her iconic “The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook.” The wonderful synergy between wine and dish elevates this duo to “Perfect Pairing” status!
While the ingredients can be a tad pricey, this dish compensates beautifully with its ease of preparation and quick cooking time. Once the prep work is done and the shellfish are cleaned, everything is essentially piled into one big pot and the whole shebang cooks in under an hour. Also, upon the ceremonial removing of the Kitchen Clambake, you are sure to hear some audible “oohs,” “aahs” and “oh no she didn’ts” from your guests – it has a M A J O R “WOW” factor!
Although many people think of Châteauneuf-du-Pape as a red wine, a white wine is also produced from this region located in France’s Southern Rhone Valley. The white incarnation is a blend of grape varieties we don’t see alot of in the states including Roussanne, Grenache Blanc, Picpoul, Bourboulenc and Clairette. The end result is lovely, medium-bodied white wine with a delightful minerality and aromatic fruit and floral notes. These wines walk the line between a Sauvignon Blanc and a Chardonnay which is why they pair so well with the clambake. The wine is rich enough to stand up to the lobster yet has enough acidity to complement the lighter shellfish too. Some wonderful producers of Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc include Château La Nerthe, Château de Beaucastel, and Château Mont-Redon.
In addition to the wine, serve the Kitchen Clambake with fresh corn on the cob slathered with butter, crusty bread and mugs of the seasoned broth the seafood cooked in. I also like to have plenty of Old Bay Seasoning on hand which is so delicious with just about any type of shellfish. For an added touch of glamour, be sure to greet your guests with our signature Fourth of July Pomegranate Aperol Royale. I hope you enjoy this pairing and have a fabulous Fourth – God Bless America!
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