A number of years ago the Farmer and I took a trip to Myrtle Beach and drove down the coast to Charleston. We fell in love with the area and especially the food. We ordered shrimp and grits in every restaurant that offered it on the menu. We were determined to discover who could claim the title of Best Shrimp and Grits. I don't know if we ever came to a consensus but it didn't matter because we thoroughly enjoyed every version.
On our way down the coast I insisted that the Farmer pull off the main highway to check out McClellanville. Someone had told me not to miss it. There's nothing there but a few homes but it's one of the spots where the shrimp boats dock. If you get there early you can see them heading out toward the ocean. This is one of my favorite photos. It was taken in McClellanville. I call it the town that time forgot.
The live oaks were dripping with moss and the heat was formidable. The air was still and nothing was moving, not even a grasshopper.
This recipe for a Lowcountry Shrimp Boil is adapted from a recipe from Paula Deen's sons. A shrimp boil isn't just about the food, it's about the experience, about having fun and relaxing. You're not a stuffed shirt, are you?
You're going to need a large stock pot. I have one with a colander basket insert so that you can pull the basket up and drain it over the pot.
1 gallon water
2 TBSP. Old Bay Seasoning
2 TBSP. salt
1 tsp. fresh cracked pepper
1/4 tsp. Tabasco sauce
2 small cloves garlic, minced
12 small new potatoes
1-1/2 lb. Andouille or smoked sausage
6 ears sweet corn, cut each into 3 pieces
3 lbs. medium raw shrimp
Combine water, Bay seasoning, salt, pepper, garlic and tabasco sauce in the large stockpot. Bring mixture to a boil.
While waiting for water to boil cut the sausage into 3/4 inch slices.
We couldn't find small new potatoes so we cut each red potato into 4 pieces.
Rinse the raw shrimp well under cold water.
When the water is boiling add the potatoes and cook for 15-20 minutes until almost tender.
Add the sausage and cook for 5 minutes longer.
Add the corn and cook for another 5 minutes.
Add the shrimp and boil for 4 more minutes.
Have someone watch the pot while you prepare the table. Cover the table with a clean, thick bath towel. Cover the entire table with fresh newspaper. Give each person a plate.
When the shrimp is pink and heated through, pull up the strainer basket and carefully carry over to the table.
NOW THE FUN BEGINS. Remember, I needed to know if you were a stuffed shirt. Here's why.....we're going to dump the food onto the middle of the table.
Sit down in front of the steaming mass and start eating! Put what you want on you plate and dig in.
Want more? Just reach forward and grab it. Leave the shrimp shells and corn cobs on the newspaper because after dinner you'll put the four plates into the sink and wrap up the mess and throw it away!
Then you can serve turkey cake. The local food store had these turkey cakes for sale the day after Thanksgiving for only $5.00. It was so cute we just couldn't resist.
After all this you have my permission to go take a nap.
I encourage you to try shrimp boil because it's so easy and so much fun to eat!