I’m so happy to be writing the cozy culinary Maine Clambake Mystery series because I can sing the praises of my adopted second-home town, Boothbay Harbor, Maine (lightly disguised in the series as Busman’s Harbor).
But what to do about the recipes? A Maine clambake (sometimes called a lobster bake) is basically one meal—chowder, steamed clams, lobster and corn, often supplemented by potato, onion, and so on. How was I going to come up with enough recipes for a series?
Of course, the book does include recipes for the clam chowder and the blueberry grunt my fictional Snowden family serves on their private island. But I’ve also collected recipes from around my fictional town. This one, for clam hash, is from local curmudgeon and restaurateur Gus Farnharm.
Here’s what my main character Julia Snowden says about Gus’s hash.
“Ayup. Hash?” Gus asked.
Among the cognoscenti, which is to say the locals, Gus’s clam hash was famous. Like any hash, it’s made with lots of onions and potatoes, but he uses clams instead of beef or corned beef. The fresh, diced clams give the hash a salty-sweet taste that cannot be beat. And if you ask for it, he will top the hash with one or two perfectly poached eggs.
“Yes, please.” I answered. “With one egg.”
“Because one egg is un oeuf.” Gus repeated the oldest joke in the world.
Gus doesn’t let anyone into his restaurant unless he knows them, or someone he does know vouches for them. That means you may never be able to taste Gus’s delicious clam hash. But if you follow this recipe, you’ll get very, very close!
2 large Maine potatoes
1 large yellow onion
2 cans minced clams (Gus uses 1 cup of freshly minced clams, but if you buy a good brand of canned, it will be almost as good.)
2 Tablespoons heavy cream
2 strips bacon
1 Tablespoon butter
Prick the potatoes with a fork and microwave on high for 5 minutes or until they can be easily pierced with a fork.
Cut onion in eighths, then put in a food processor and pulse 10 times.
Peel the cooled potatoes and chop them into large cubes.
Put the cubed potatoes in the food processor with the onions and pulse to combine. Add salt and pepper.
Add the drained clams and cream. Pulse to combine.
In a frying pan, cook the bacon until crispy, then remove and set aside.
Add the butter to the bacon fat in the frying pan.
Add the hash from the food processor and press down into the frying pan. Cook for 5–6 minutes on medium heat until the bottom begins to brown.
Turn and cook the other side.
Keep flipping to add more crust as desired.
Top with crumbled bacon.
Barbara Ross is the author of Clammed Up, first in a series of Maine Clambake Mysteries. Barbara and her husband own the former Seafarer Inn in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. From her perch on the Seafarer’s wide front porch, Barbara’s had a chance to observe the quirks of life in a small resort town, along with the stunning harbor views. Barbara and Bill longer run the inn as a Bed & Breakfast. Barbara is notoriously not a morning person. They considered a Bed-and-Get-Your-Own-Damn-Breakfast, but there didn’t seem to be much of a market. You can read more about Barbara and the book at www.maineclambakemysteries.com.