In The Kitchen: Share a seafood boil for July 4th holiday

If you want the ultimate casual summer party you need to try the Seafood Boil. The Dennis and Karen Trentham family has been having them for about three years, and their friends can always count on one for the Fourth of July.

My friend Pam Bradley was the first to tell me about it. She attended her first Seafood Boil at Robin Skeen’s home about eight years ago. The Skeens cooked up a huge batch, lined a wheelbarrow with aluminum foil and poured all the food into it.

It sounded like such fun and something I wanted to share with readers, so I wrangled an invitation to the Trentham’s Memorial Day event.

The shared flavors of the Seafood Boil make this a great dish. The ease of clean-up and preparation make it a perfect holiday party dinner, so the cook can get out of the kitchen quickly. You can tailor the seafood to your tastes, but traditionally, it’s shrimp and/or crawfish.

Pam’s instructions for eating crawfish were to “break off the tail of the crawfish, slurp out the good juice from the head, peel off the shell of the tail, pinch the bottom of the tail and the meat will pop right out.”

I have also included a recipe for Mikki Sauce, which is good with the shrimp and the crawfish. The Mikki Sauce comes from Micah Puckett, who is engaged to Karen's son, Matt Trentham.

Cover the table with newspaper or foil, set out a roll or two of paper towels and get ready for a feast. Good accompaniments are hushpuppies or garlic bread, coleslaw and watermelon for a perfect ending.

Karen's Seafood Boil

4 lemons, halved

4 bay leaves

1/2 cup Old Bay Seasoning

2 garlic heads, halved horizontally

3 medium onions, peeled and quartered

10 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1 package)

2 lbs. new red potatoes, unpeeled, cut in half if large

8 ears corn, broken in half

2 lbs. shrimp, deveined

2 lbs. kielbasa sausage, cut into 1 inch pieces

2 lb. fresh or frozen crawfish

Sea salt

Fill 2 large pots with water, squeeze lemons into water and then add rinds. Add bay leaves, seasoning, garlic, onions, 3 teaspoons salt and the thyme.

Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Add potatoes, and simmer about 12-15 minutes.

Add corn, simmer about 5 more minutes.

Add sausage and shrimp. Simmer only until shrimp turns pink, about 3 to 5 minutes. If using the frozen, already cooked crawfish, add along with the shrimp. If using fresh crawfish, they will need to cook 8 to 10 minutes, so add right before the shrimp.

Take off heat, remove bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Drain and pour out onto foil or newspaper covered table.

Mikki Sauce

1 1/2 cups ketchup

1/2 cup horseradish

1/4 cup lemon juice

Mix together. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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