My favorite farmer’s market, Lakeside Farmer’s Market, had baby red potatoes and fresh corn this weekend, and I knew I had a bag of shrimp in the freezer, so why not make a shrimp boil?
Seafood boils, otherwise known as Frogmore Stew, have a long and storied history in the lowcountry of South Carolina. Some stories claim that a local fisherman originated the recipe as a way to use the bounty of the sea and the vegetables he’d just harvested. Another story places the development of the seafood boil with Richard Gay, the owner of a seafood restaurant on St. Helena Island, SC, who was tasked with feeding over 100 National Guardsmen. Frogmore Stew was just the ticket to feed lots of men with minimal effort, and serving it on tables covered with newspaper eliminated the need for a massive cleanup.
To make my shrimp boil, which is only kinda legit since I omitted the kielbasa sausage, I started with a big pot of water. I washed and dumped in the baby red potatoes.
I set the heat to high and let the potatoes come to a boil. Once they were boiling, I added all the seasonings – the Chesapeake Bay style seasoning (I used Sauer’s, but Old Bay is fine too), and the shrimp boil seasoning mixture. For the shrimp boil seasoning, I found a good copycat recipe of a famous Southern brand, which I halved since I was just cooking for the four of us and not a ton of people:
Copycat Seafood Boil Seasoning Mix
2 tbsp. mustard or ground mustard seeds
1 1/2 tbsp. coriander seeds or ground coriander
1 tbsp. allspice, whole or ground
1 tbsp. dill seeds
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tbsp. crushed red pepper flakes
4 bay leaves
While the potatoes were boiling in the seasoning mixture, I shucked my corn, removed the silks and cut each ear in half.
I dumped the corn into the pot and let that boil for about 10 minutes with the potatoes. If you’re using sausage, you’d add it with the corn. After letting that boil a while, I added the shrimp. They only need to boil in the pot for about 3 to 4 minutes, or until they turn pink. Then you’re ready to plate your shrimp boil, or to dump it out onto a newspaper-covered table!
Lowcountry Shrimp Boil
2 lbs. small red potatoes
Crab or seafood boil seasoning (I used the mixture above)
4 tbsp. Old Bay or other Chesapeake-style seafood seasoning (I used Sauer’s)
1 lb. kielbasa or other smoked sausage, sliced into 1 1/2 inch pieces
3 ears of corn, shucked, silks removed and cut in half
2 lbs. medium or large shrimp, in shell preferred