Welcome to Friday!! Today’s Fast Fix Friday is a favorite of mine. Not only is this fun and festive, but it can be modified to feed a crowd. It is a one pot meal which is the simplest way to feed a lot of people. If you fix this you instantly have a party. I’m talking about a shrimp boil.
I have fixed this at home when having people over. We attended a small gathering where we fixed this recipe for the host, and we have fixed it for a large party. It worked well for all those occasions. The only thing that we modified was for the large party where we added crayfish in addition to the shrimp.
Other than the seafood, this dish is really inexpensive to fix, especially if you make it when the other ingredients are in season. Farm to table is always best, it usually is cheaper, and the ingredients taste so much better. That’s what makes this, in my opinion, the perfect thing to serve at your warm weather gatherings.
The ingredients in addition to being inexpensive are easy to find. You need shrimp, or your choice of seafood. Crab, crayfish, or lobster would be great in this either on their own, or in addition to the shrimp. The other ingredients are lemons, potatoes, onions, corn on the cob, sausage (I prefer something that holds together like kielbasa), chicken or fish stock, a bottle of beer, liquid shrimp boil seasoning, old bay seasoning, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper.
First you will need to get your pot ready. A large cauldron over an open fire would be really fun and set the perfect mood for an outdoor gathering. I use a pot that is part of our turkey fryer. It is nice and deep and has the propane fueled burner and stand already perfectly fitted to each other. Most of the time people like to get a beverage and stand around and watch the ingredients go into the pot. Actually, they like to watch the prep work too. Grab your favorite drink and talk to everyone while you prep the potatoes, onions, corn and sausage. I think that you need to use at least part stock like a seafood or chicken stock to boil everything in as well. You will need to add your halved lemons, salt, pepper, old bay, beer, and the liquid shrimp boil seasoning (kind of like an oil) to the boiling liquid. All those layers of flavor really add up in your finished product.
As you are bringing your liquid to a boil add in the potatoes and onions. About 15 minutes. Once your liquid is boiling add in sausage, and corn and cook 8 more minutes. Then when you only have a minute or two left throw in the shrimp. They only need to turn pink. Don’t overcook the shrimp because the texture will be rubbery and not succulent like they should be. Don’t peel the shrimp only devein them. Those shells will keep all that seasoning near to the flesh of the shrimp. When your ingredients come out of the boil make sure to give them a sprinkle of salt, pepper and old bay before you serve.
This meal is fun and festive. People will be eating with their hands and getting really acquainted with their meal…peel the shrimp as you eat. Provide lemon wedges so people can squeeze a little fresh lemon on the seafood. Make sure that you provide little plates at their place settings for the corn cobs, squeezed lemons and shells. I’ve seen lots of adorable little plates that have pictures of skewered shrimp or a lobster wearing a bib. Those would be really cute for this purpose. Serve this meal with a tall glass of iced tea, “The house wine of the south” according to Dolly Parton in Steel Magnolias. Or you could fix a lemonade shake up like this one. Martini Monday – Lemonade Shake Up
Here is the recipe. Keep in mind cooking is all about modifying things to suit your tastes and personality so use this as a guideline, but have fun and make it your own dish. The recipe as is will feed about 8 people.
Fast Fix Friday – Shrimp Boil
2 quarts of chicken or fish stock for boiling liquid
2 quarts of water for boiling liquid
1 bottle of beer for boiling liquid
1 ½ or 2 lbs. of potatoes cut into bite size pieces or use new potatoes
2 large onions – quartered
3 lemons – 2 halved and 1 cut in wedges
4 ears of corn on the cob cut into thirds or buy the small ones
1 to ½ lbs. of sausage or kielbasa cut on the bias
2 lbs. of 15 count Shrimp deveined but not peeled – other seafood as desired
Liquid shrimp and crab boil seasoning like Zatarains – 1 cap full very concentrated too much is too hot
5 teaspoons salt
3 teaspoons black or white pepper
½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
Old Bay seasoning – a generous shake into the boiling liquid
Hot sauce to put on the table to add extra heat for those that want it
Follow the directions above and brace yourself for a fun gathering and lots of compliments on the food and atmosphere. Until next time, remember parties don’t have to be difficult. They can be as easy as throwing wonderful food in a pot and letting it cook. So don’t sweat the shrimpy stuff…and as always stay glamorous.