Friday, April 18, 2008

Ode to a shrimp

Oh shrimp, how do I love thee for dinner parties?

Friday night we hosted a dinner with our neighbors to the south and the north. A lovely pairing of neighbors, both young and old(er than we).

Every few months there's a semi that drives north from New Orleans bringing fresh shrimp and other seafood to the sea-starved folk in the northland. Ron gets a postcard when they come so we can plan ahead for dinner gatherings. This time, the truck arrived on a Thursday. Perfect for a Friday night dinner event. I say event because I think fresh shrimp are reason enough for an event. I mean, have you ever been a part of a "boil"? Shrimp, fish, crawdads or the like? They are wonderful fun, a chance to lick your fingers and laugh with your neighbors. Tastes great with beer, too. There's no need for a salad or worrying about a balanced meal. I mean, shrimp, corn, new potatoes and sausage... with some onion, a few lemons and Old Bay spices for flavor, isn't that all you need? Oh, a little bit of crusty french bread to soak up the juices is good too. Mmmm. When does that truck come back? I'm hungry already.

Here are the photos.

Here is Ron's hybrid recipe.


Serves 4 to 6

1 – 2 lbs sausage / brats
2 cheap beers
9 cups water
1 cup crab boil seasoning (Old Bay)
(more seasoning + cayenne for hot)
2 or 3 onions / halved
2 lemons / halved
2.5 lbs small red-skinned potatoes
6 ears corn / broken in half
3 lbs shrimp / unpeeled (or crawfish)
Melted butter

Grill outside of sausages if raw. Cut into 2 or 3 pieces.
Boil water & beer.
Add sausage (if raw), seasoning, onions & lemons.
Bring to a boil again.
Add potatoes.
Cover & boil 15 minutes or until pots. are almost done.
Add corn & cut sausages (if cooked).
Cover & boil 3 minutes.
Add shrimp.
Cover & boil 5 minutes.

Drop a few trays of ice in pot to stop the boil/cooking. (Don't worry, it won't get cold, just stop the cooking action.)
Let sit 20 minutes, then drain in the sink.
Serve in a huge bowl on newspaper in place of a tablecloth.
Serve with good bread and melted butter for dipping.

If storing leftovers in Tupperware throw away lemons first. If you forget your shrimp, potatoes & corn will taste like lemon-nasty-ness.

Notice the newspaper on the table. I wish I had instructed my parents who recently vacationed/volunteered in N. Orleans to bring back a few newspapers so I could be more authentic with my table covering, but the Star Tribune works just fine too. Every one is too busy throwing their shrimp tails and corn cobs on the table afterwards to notice that the paper is from Minneapolis anyway. Although I'm a true earth-gal and recycler to the core, I love the simplicity of rolling up the paper, tails, cobs and all, and chucking it into the garbage.

So you better watch out... you might just get invited for a boil the next time the shrimp truck comes a-drivin' into town.


noradawn said...

It all you're good! Looks fun. I had some fries seasoned with Old Bay once- yummy! But hold the catsup.

Stephanie said...

I have only been to one boil--in New Orleans at Jazz Fest 2003! It's time for a new one--let's hope that truck comes by next time I am stateside!