Sunday, August 14, 2011

Lobster bake

A member of my college alumni association, Joe Ayers, now works as a professor and researcher at an oceanographic facility on the shore near Boston. He invited our alumni club to a traditional New England lobster feast. I’ve heard of these things, but I’ve never before seen lobsters cooked this way.

We had to arrive early in order to dig a pit on the beach. (But somebody else got there even earlier so Alla and I escaped that task.) Then we piled alternating layers of wood with kindling and big rocks into the pit, and ended with as much material above ground as in the pit. Joe took a shortcut here and added barbecue fire-starting liquid to the wood before throwing in a ball of burning newspaper. The pile burned all afternoon while we swam in the ocean and ate hamburgers cooked on an ordinary gas grill. In addition, we spent a lot of time gathering wet seaweed, which we began even before the tide got low enough to expose it.

Finally the fire burned down enough that the hot rocks settled to ground level and we prepared the food. Joe taught us how safely to remove the bands from the lobsters’ claws, and we put the live lobsters and clams into huge steamer frames along with sacks filled with potatoes, onions and hot dogs. (Lobsters are only safe to eat if cooked alive. It’s apparently something like staying too long in the sauna.) We also laid out lots of corn with the silk removed and the leaves wrapped back around the kernels.

We stacked the two steamer frames on top of the hot seaweed and put two wet tarps on top. A little over an hour later, we removed the covers and took the food up to the lawn so everybody could fill their plates. Dinner tasted excellent, and we had a really great time preparing it.

No comments:

Post a Comment