A Bake On The Beach
By Paul Morrone CFP®, CPA/PFS, MSA
You’ve heard me say before how much I love a good clam bake, but unfortunately because of the work involved we only go ‘all out’ maybe once a year. Well that day finally came over Labor Day weekend, and thanks to a little help from Mother Nature we were able to enjoy a beautiful night on the beach with friends, lobsters and a bonfire. Being on the beach instead of a back yard posed its own challenges and forced us to change our approach and experiment a bit. We opted to steam the lobsters over hot coals and seaweed, rather than boiling them in a steel pot, which takes a little while longer but was well worth the extra effort.
One of our friends spearheaded the effort and was able to round up a couple dozen lobsters and 200 clams in addition to the plethora of burgers, hot dogs, corn, potatoes and pasta salads that are a staple at any cookout. To cook the lobsters, made a fire over a bed of rocks (which would retain heat) and let the wood burn down until there were only coals remaining. The coals are then covered in seaweed and the live lobsters are put on top of the seaweed as you don’t want direct contact between the lobster and the hot coals. We covered the lobsters with another layer of seaweed, a wet blanket and finally a tarp to keep the heat in. Then it was time to play the waiting game.
An hour later, all the guys were huddled around the fire pit like kids around the tree on Christmas morning. It was a messy job uncovering everything and picking the steamed lobsters out from the seaweed, but it was worth the effort. They were now bright red and perfectly steamed, ready to be cracked and eaten. Steaming the lobsters over an hour seemed to make the shells a bit softer than I’m used to, which allowed us to crack tails, claws and even knuckles with our hands, no tools needed. I suffered only a small cut from being a little overzealous with one of the claws but other than that we were all surprised how easy they were to eat.
After a major cleanup effort, it was time to get the fire going again. This time it helped to keep us warm because, somehow, it got a bit cool on Saturday night. We topped off the evening with smores on the beach before making the call to turn it in for the day.