I ended yesterday’s new-chandelier post proclaiming, “bring on the well-lit dinner parties!” and we wasted no time doing that. Last night, we had a couple good friends over for a shrimp boil–a low-key and out-of-this-world flavorful dinner that requires one pot and zero plates. Which I la-hove, because since Chris is the chef around here 98% of the time, I do the dishes just as much, and last night dishes were almost non-existant. And the only thing more amusing than a lack of dishes after a good dinner is presenting your guests with no utensils and no plates. Woohoohoo. You gotta try it.
Then, it is all hands and elbows on deck to dig in. We just squirt our sauces right on the covered table and eat and chat and watch our pile of food slowly downsize. It is a f-u-n way to enjoy a meal.
My expertise kind of stops with eating and protecting furniture, but luckily Chris (who spent 2 years in Louisiana where shrimp and crab boils are abundant) agreed to share the recipe for your next dinner party. Here’s his 411 on the shrimp boil:
The most important part of a proper shrimp boil is the water. You need to make sure there’s lots of flavor in the water, and it doesn’t really matter what you use to flavor it, as long as you like the ingredients. I’m a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to a shrimp boil, so I stick with the cajun flavors.
Pot of water – about 1.5-2 gallons
1/4 cup salt
black pepper (7 or 8 grinds)
1/2 T garlic powder
2 tsp smoked tobasco
crab boil (I use the liquid – add as directed on the bottle or adjust to make it more or less spicy. I used about 2 tablespoons)
5 cloves of smashed garlic cloves (5 large ones – remember, this is 5 large CLOVES, not 5 large HEADS of garlic)
2 lemons, cut in half, juice squeezed into the liquid and lemon pieces dropped in
1 onion – ends trimmed, peeled, cut into quarters one end to the other
Put everything in the water and bring it to a boil. Let it boil for a bit. In the south they do this outside because the fumes can get pretty hefty. I don’t have the proper equipment for that, so I just make sure to open the window and have any fans going, as well.
Rest of the stuff:
2 links of smoked sausage–cut into 5 or 6 pieces each
5 ears of corn–cut into 3 inch lengths
8 oz whole button mushrooms
2 lbs uncooked shrimp–(tails and shells on) if frozen, thaw
Once the water has boiled for a bit, add everything else in sequence of how long they need to cook. First, add the potatoes. Put the lid on, bring to a rolling boil, and let it go for a couple minutes. Then add the smoked sausage, but the lid on and cook for a couple more minutes. Add the corn and mushrooms, put the lid on and cook for a couple minutes. Then add the shrimp, put the lid on and cook for a couple minutes or until the shrimp rises to the top. Drain the water and dump everything onto your table which has been lined with a layer of plastic, and a layer of butcher paper on top.