*Smaller shrimp may overcook in the time it takes for the remaining ingredients to cook through. I find jumbos work quite well.
**Steaming, microwaving, or otherwise cooking potatoes prior to use is important, as they will otherwise remain underdone when the seafood is fully cooked. It’s ok if they are still a tad al dente, but I usually steam until they are just tender. This may be done earlier in the day and the potatoes can sit at room temperature until ready to assemble the packets.
Helpful hints: You can accommodate allergies and taste preferences by omitting any offending ingredients and adding a proportionate amount of another. Use a Sharpie to write names on top of the foil packet if they are made to order.
We’re frequently told to discard any clams that have not opened during the cooking process, and this is good food safety practice. But what if a clamshell is open before cooking? In order to determine freshness, gently tap it. A shell that closes right away indicates that the clam still alive and good to use.
Additions and substitutions that work well:
•Slices or small chunks of cooked or smoked sausage (like Kielbasa, Andouille, or your favorite turkey sausage)
•Mushrooms, sliced, quartered, or halved
•Minced garlic (I use 1 small clove per packet)
•I don’t add salt and pepper to the packets but do offer sea salt and ground pepper at the table. However, you could add a sprinkle to the packets before cooking.
•Corn and potatoes provide a complementary starch in the packets but may be completely omitted. The corn does pick up delicious flavor from the broth that develops, and the potatoes are wonderful mashed into the broth. Sometimes, however, I opt to grill or steam a bigger batch of corn to serve alongside.
•Bread for mopping up the broth