Monday, August 29, 2011
Shrimp Boil, Shopaholic Style
Happy Monday! Warning: This post might make you hungry! :-)
One of my favorite things about living on the Alabama Gulf Coast is the accessibility of fresh seafood. Sometimes we catch it ourselves - other times we buy it. Regardless of how we acquire the seafood, it's a staple in our diet.
Yesterday we had a hankering for a shrimp boil. So, I went to the store and got everything we needed to prepare a coastal feast! When putting together a "traditional" shrimp boil on the gulf coast, most folks include shrimp, new potatoes, corn and occasionally sausage. However, I am trying to limit my carbs this week (must look cute in halter top at Kid Rock concert in a week) so I decided to modify our ingredients.
We started with 4 pounds of fresh shrimp, one pound of Andouille sausage, and whole, fresh mushrooms.
This is the part where people ask "don't you just use the package of crab boil in the box?". Ummm, yes and no...the boxed crab boil - when used according to package instructions, will supposedly season up to four pounds of shrimp or other seafood. However, based on my cooking experience and our taste, when used alone it just doesn't provide enough seasonings for the seafood. I think using just the one box of seasoning makes the shrimp taste very bland. Think "boiled shrimp on the seafood buffet" style bland.
These are the ingredients I use to season the water prior to boiling: box of seafood boil, several heaping tablespoons of Old Bay, 2-3 large lemons (quartered and then halved), 4-5 cloves of fresh garlic, salt to taste, and a generous pour of extra virgin olive oil. I'm sure you are asking now: Why olive oil? In my experience, it makes the shrimp very easy to peel, and provides a little extra flavor too! Bring all the ingredients to a boil, then add the mushrooms and sausage, letting everything boil for 5-10 minutes.
Next, add the shrimp and bring all ingredients back to a hard boil. Do NOT let this boil long - maybe 2 minutes at most and then remove from the heat. Most chefs will tell you, the shrimp are actually "done" once they come to a boil. (It's very easy to overcook shrimp - which makes them difficult to peel and then you are super frustrated because you ruined $25-40 worth of seafood.) When all the ingredients are boiling, I like the water to have an almost orange colored tint. This is how I know I got the seasonings just right.
Next, I make homemade cocktail sauce for dipping. This is actually very easy, and I use the following ingredients: Ketchup (Heinz or Publix Greenwise organic only), Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco hot sauce, fresh Horseradish (available at your seafood counter), and a few lemon wedges. Mix everything to taste in a cute bowl and you're ready to eat! (for those who aren't a fan of cocktail sauce or ketchup, you can melt better in the microwave and dip your shrimp into hot butter...yummy!)
Finished product - yummy cocktail sauce!
Do you like to cook seafood? What are your favorite dishes? Let me know if you have a different "spin" on boiled shrimp - I'd love to hear from you!
Have a Marvelous Monday!
p.s. It goes without saying - I'll be using shrimp in recipes for days. Think shrimp pasta (whole wheat only), boiled shrimp on green salad, etc.