Friday, August 7, 2009

Par-ty DOWN!

Jake's has reopened...the sweet corn is in, it's Friday night - and here in DC, it's an August afternoon with (gasp) only 38% humidity!

It's time for a celebration, something for spicy Piskies who aren't afraid to dig in and get their hands a little messy. Meet me at the picnic tables...who is bringing the salad and bread? I'll bring a couple pies - the peaches are in (perhaps make one of them banana cream for Leonardo? Hmmm...)

Shrimp Boil à la Maryland

4 quarts water
1 12-ounces beer
1/2 cup Maryland-style seafood seasoning* (see notes)
2 tablespoons salt
8 medium red potatoes, quartered (adjust to size of potatoes)
2 large onions, peeled
6 or more garlic cloves (see directions)
2 pounds kielbasa or andoille (or a mix), cut into 2-inch slices
8 ears fresh corn, shucked and cut in half
4 pounds unpeeled shrimp, about 21 to 25 count** (see notes)
4 or more zucchini, cut into 1-inch slices if your garden is overrun with them
Cocktail sauce
Melted butter
Extra seafood seasoning

Peel the onions and cut into about six wedges (or cut into wedges and then peel them, be daring). Crush unpeeled garlic cloves with the heavy part of a knife, remove the peel but do not slice.

Bring the water, beer, seafood seasoning and salt to a boil in a large pot (about 12 quart capacity) over high heat. If you have a big pasta pot with a steamer insert, life will be easier. Add the potatoes and onions; cook about 8 minutes; remember to adjust the timing based on the size of your potato pieces. Add the sausage and cook about 5 minutes. If your corn is a little old - or you like it on the soft side, toss in now for about 5 minutes. Toss in the zucchini whenever you want. Actually, adjust the cooking time for everything based on your preferences, period - just count back from the item that will take the longest cooking time.

Remove the pot from heat, toss in the shrimp, cover pot, and steam until they turn just pink. Five minutes, perhaps, but remember overcooking will make them tough.

Drain the cooking liquid - or carefully remove the steamer insert of goodies - please be careful, this is very hot steam and liquid, and clumsy at times. (You might want to remove the shrimp first, so they don't overcook). Pour the goodies in a couple large serving bowls for semi-polite company. But it's more fun to just pile it on a table covered with brown paper, and a picnic table is best. Pass around the melted butter, cocktail sauce and extra seafood seasoning for those that like to doctor things up a bit (or raise their cholesterol, clear their sinuses, etc.

The only sides you need are some good, crusty or sourdough bread and a nice crisp salad. Purists don't want those extras, but it's nice to have a couple things that don't taste like the seasoning. Oh, and have plenty of paper towels and handwipes available, peeling the shrimp is messy.

*Old Bay seasoning is very good and available in most grocery stores, look for the familiar red and yellow tin. I'm partial to J.O's #1 and Wye River Original Red (you can order them from Maryland Delivered. People use Zatarain's as you head further south, it's very good and many just prefer the blend - and then this yummy stuff starts being called a low-country boil, or Frogmore Stew, or any number of regional names.

**You can really use any shellfish that suits your fancy. Mimi, we will happily add some crayfish if you'll bring it by. And don't worry too much about the size of the shrimp, and if you can actually them someplace from local waters...well, then I don't have to say any more why you should use them! If you want to serve blue crabs with this, steam them separately the traditional way with rock salt and seasoning.


Leonardo Ricardo said...

Dear Countess Perkie Piskie,

That looks so good. I´ve been on diet, as you I had a great big fruit salad at lunch...and then you do this, of course I´m hungry!

Thanks for the visual anyway (as a artist I can convert that ALMOST into thinking I ate calories that way).

Abrazos, (knee healed)


Fred Schwartz said...

On the "other" side of border the shrimp dish is called "steamed spiced shrimp". It was also featured in the FBI Story, with Jimmy Stewart.

David G. said...

At the parties I used to attend, that recipe quadrupled would be the norm. Personally I shun seafood, in Florida of all places.

David G. said...

The cooking liquid, never wasted in my kitchen anyhow, It could become a soup or sauce base, who

Fred Schwartz said...

You live on the other side. You threw my off when you called it Maryland boil. I have always known it as steamed spice shrimp. Chespeake Seafood House used to have all you could eat with hush puppies and ice tea (non-sweetened of course). We still make it a lot living here in California.

Lynn said...

No, no, I still think of Maryland as my side of the river! They had Chesapeake Bay AYCE places all around DC, I recall. They were fun.

For steamed shrimp, we only use a little bit of liquid, and don't mess with all that other good stuff.

Fred Schwartz said...

Yeah, but the other good stufff sounds too good to pass up! I will report back in the next few weeks after having tried the whole "enchilada" (opps, wrong dish but you know what I mean.)

Lynn said...

Fred, try the J.O. #1 sometime. Most people don't know this - it's the brand used most often on the Maryland Eastern Shore (though a lot of places make their own blend). Most people think that Old Bay is the king because they know the brand. I know people who use a mix of OB and JO to steam crabs, too.

Fred Schwartz said...

I have tries the Wye River, it isi n my cupboard right now. I have ordered JO #1 and will try it. I will let you know.

BTW, me and a friend of mine used to get the "all you can eat" at the CSH. The families would wait for us in the car listening to Waylon, Willie and the Boys while Jerry and I finished.
We had a time.

Fred Schwartz said...

I received the Jo's. It now time to put up the good stuff!

Fred Schwartz said...

How many does this serve? Could I cut it in half and serve 4-6

Lynn said...

Fred, the official serving count is for 8 adults. I've made more, but haven't halved it. Let me think a second about how much liquid you would use to halve it - maybe 3/4 of the water and beer, generous 3/4 of the spices? You want plenty of room for those potatoes or they'll take forever to cook. And actually, you could toss in the entire can of beer. I suspect many people make this without measuring anyway!

I tend to use a bit more shrimp that this, but most of the people I know really, really like shrimp.

Fred Schwartz said...

Got it done tonight. It was terrific -- except most everyone thought too spicy -- inclduing my tough (see Real Anglcians) grandson. I can adjust the amount of the JO and that should take care of it. It is a wonderful one pot meal that is really good in for the summer! I made a single layer vanilla cake with butter cream frosting to with it and then served Irish Cream coffee with the dessert. Thank you!

Lynn said...


Let me know how much you think the spices should be adjusted should be adjusted, and I'll change this up to "1/4 to 1/2 cup" or something similar.

I think the simple cake was a perfect choice to calm down those taste buds after the spicy dinner. If it was real (homemade) buttercream, I can taste it right now!

Fred Schwartz said...

Should be 1/4 then added more after cooking. Yes, the cake from a mix but the icing from scratch.