I cant believe the last days of summer are upon us fabulous eaters. We are closely reaching fall weather and I feel the tears forming in my eyes. Labor Day weekend only means one thing in my life and that is the Labor day seafood boil my family and I host every year. Lobsters, crabs, and shrimp are everywhere as we put everything in a pot, sit around the table, roll up our sleeves and dig in. Everyone gets there own lobster, and bowls of seafood, corn, potatoes and everything else in between gets scattered around the table for everyone to dig into. Nothing fancy, eat with your hands, slurping fun.
FAB TIP #1 ~ Of course food is fabulous when it is fresh and in season. Seafood has great flavor all on its own, BUT the cooking liquid for a seafood boil is super essential. The cooking liquid has to be overly seasoned and heavily flavorful, due to the fact that it needs to cook a lot of seafood and vegetables that will essentially water down the initial flavor. You want the flavoring liquid to permeate and season all of your ingredients. A classic crab boil seasoning, or Old Bay seasoning, is always a great flavoring when making a seafood boil. Other flavor add-ins can include beer, wine, spices such as bay leaves, chili flakes and peppercorns, and also flavored salts.
FAB TIP #2 ~ With a seafood boil, a little chef expertise starts to kick in. Timing is key and knowing when to add certain ingredients in your pot will help create the perfect balance of cooked seafood and cooked vegetables. Once your cooking liquid is flavored and seasoned, you want to add the things that will take the longest to cook first. When layering your ingredients, the potatoes should be one of the first things to begin cooking. After that, corn and sausage, followed by shellfish, lobsters and/or crabs, and finally shrimp. Adding your shrimp at the very end will assure that your shrimp cook through in the hot liquid, but will not overcook them and become mushy by being trapped on the bottom of your pot. Adding shellfish second and third will assure that the shells from the mussels and clams open fully and any lobster or crabs that will be added will be cooked as well.
FAB TIP #3 ~ Typically, a seafood boil is served on a table, family style with no bowls or utensils, eating with your hands is all the fun. Placing old newspaper on your table before pouring the seafood out onto the table is a great (fun and decorative way) to become another protective layer and will help catch all of the juices and shells. Placing plastic tables clothes, a drop cloth, or a garbage bag cut down the middle is also great as well. Do NOT pour the entire pot on the table. Drain all seafood and vegetables from pot and place on the table.
1 package crab seasoning
1 lb. boiling potatoes, cut in half. (red bliss potatoes are good for this)
6 ears of corn
1 whole garlic head, cut in half
1 40oz. bottle of beer. (Budweiser I recommend)
2 packages kielbasa or smoked sausage , cut into large chunks
melted butter, for the table
flaked sea salt and cracked black pepper.
In a very large pot, fill half way with water, adding crab seasoning, garlic, and smoked sausage, and bring to a boil. When boiling, add in potatoes and cook until fork tender. Half way thru cooking add corn. When corn is cooked, remove from the pot and set aside, leaving in the liquid the garlic and sausage. Next add live lobsters, and cook until lobster has turned completely red. Remove lobsters and add the beer. Bring back up to a boil and add the rest of you choice seafood. Cook seafood until shells have opened, crabs have turned orange. Lastly add shrimp and cook just until shrimp have turned pink. Scoop out into large serving platters, or scoop out, allowing cooking liquid to drain off and place on the table. Serve with melted butter, flaked sea salt and cracked black pepper.
***You can adjust this recipe to fit whatever seafood you and your guest enjoy***