An order of steamers is nice, but it cannot measure up to a clam boil. Nor does a side of little necks. Fried clams are okay as long as they have big, fat bellies. Clam strips are never acceptable.

If you want to experience clams the New Bedford way, though, you have to do a full-scale, all-out clam boil – and it has to include linguica.

A true New Bedford clam boil should leave you wanting more but having no place left to put it. It should also leave you wet and smelling like clam broth and melted butter.

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My uncle Bob "Pumpy" Antil is known far and wide for his famous New Bedford clam boils. Folks came from far and near to bib up at Bob's picnic table on clam boil day, almost always a hot summer Sunday.

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A true New Bedford clam boil contains a ton of soft-shell clams, potatoes, whole onions, white fish wrapped in wax paper, sausage, hot dogs, and linguica. Yes, linguica. The linguica adds to the overall flavor of the clams and all of the other ingredients, and it adds an ethnic flair to the meal.

I won't get into what spices folks use to enhance the flavor of their clam boil, as that is up to the chef to determine. I have heard, however, that a dash of black pepper makes the clams sneeze the sand right out of their shells, making for cleaner clams. Now, I can't swear that clams actually sneeze, but the pepper seems to work magic.

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A true New Bedford clam boil can also include corn on the cob and can be served with lobster. It should always include a cup of clam broth for dipping and drinking, and of course, a cup of drawn butter. Some Portuguese pops and lots of cold beer will round out your clam boil feast.

Sliced watermelon makes for a fabulous dessert.

Did you prepare your own clam boils during the summer? What do you include in them? Do you agree that a New Bedford clam boil should include linguica?

Now that I've made your mouths water, clam boil season is not far off. Remember, a true New Bedford clam boil always includes linguica.

Is This How I Make a Clam Boil?

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