Saturday Dinner: Low Country Shrimp Boil

One of the most searched and requested recipes from me and Al Dente is the one for the shrimp boil.

Seafood boils require few ingredients, the most important of which is quality seafood. I would say fresh, but so much of our shrimp (for instance) is frozen on the boat or in processing centers around the globe that unless you are buying off the docks in Louisiana, Mississippi, or North Carolina, you’re likely getting frozen product. So, stop your whining and cook your frozen shrimp.

The base of any boil is water, about a gallon or two of it. Add some aromatics, seafood spicing, sausage, potatoes, corn and, of course, shrimp. You do absolutely no work here aside from pouring ingredients into a pan and then scooping them back out.

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I always do a little something different from boil to boil, and this time it was my choice of seafood spices. Typically, I go with about 1 cup of Old Bay to 1 gallon of water. This time around, I used 1/2 cup of Old Bay and a half-bottle of Zatarain’s Concentrated Shrimp and Crab Boil. It should be noted that I didn’t plan to use this much, but someone bumped into me while I was pouring it in. No harm, no foul. Things were still fine. Actually, I prefer the Zatarain’s to the Old Bay but don’t tell anyone from Maryland that.

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And, while we’re at it, make your own cocktail sauce and remoulade sauce to go with it. The bottled stuff is dreck.

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Low Country Shrimp Boil
  • 1 gallon tap water
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 3 shallots, halved
  • 4 medium lemons, halved
  • 1 cup concentrated lemon juice
  • 1/2 bottle Zatarain's Concentrated Shrimp and Crab Boil
  • 1/4 cup Old Bay seasoning
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 22 to 24 oz. beer (This time it was Samuel Adams Boston Lager)
  • 2 lbs. baby red potatoes
  • 14 oz. cured and smoked Andouille sausage, cut into slices
  • 3 ears of corn, halved
  • 8 lbs. raw shrimp, peeled and deveined OR scored to make peeling easier (your preference)

Bring water to a boil over high heat. Add the onion and shallots. Squeeze the juice from the lemons into the pot and add the bodies, followed by the lemon juice. Add the Old Bay, boil concentrate, and salt. Cover and let the boil roll for 5 minutes. Add the beer and cook another 5 minutes.

Add the potatoes and cook covered for 10 minutes. Add the corn and sausage and cook covered for 10 more minutes. Add the shrimp in batches, taking care not to scald yourself. Cover and cook 3 to 5 minutes, or until the shrimp just turns pink.

Using a large slotted spoon or a fine mesh strainer, scoop out the shrimp, sausage, corn and potatoes to a large serving bowl, taking care to discard the lemons, onion and shallots.

Serve hot with plenty of napkins, and cocktail and remoulade sauce.

By Jared Paventi

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