Savor the End of Summer
Host a Seafood Boil
As the end of summer approaches, it always comes with a mixture of emotions, for parents it’s often a combination of excitement – the kids are going back to school mixed with anxiety – the kids are growing up and a year older! Savor the sweet end of summer with a fun party that will bring together friends and family over good food – a seafood boil.
This party is centered around a bubbling pot of spicy seafood. You can feed a large group of people with this one concoction, making it the perfect way to both entertain and feast. The menu can be adapted to your liking but a traditional seafood boil features crab, mussels and/or clams, andouille sausage and classic red potatoes and corn cobs. You can customize the recipe to your personal preference, for example use prawns instead of crab or if your budget allows add in lobster!
Crab boils are great because the menu is simple, and while the whole eating experience is quite messy, the cleanup is effortless. On the East Coast, a seafood boil is often a weekly tradition and they know what they are doing! There’s so much fun to be had at a seafood boil that not much more needs to be organized than the meal itself. Here are a few tips for making it feel a bit festive.
This party is all about the food. So, there is really no need to go all out with décor. Focus your efforts on the tablescape but remember eating crabs and seafood with your hands is just plain messy and that’s the fun of it. Use a disposable table covering – it can be a plastic version from the party store, old newspapers taped together on a diagonal to create a table runner or brown
Kraft paper. You just need something to protect your table, that you are also ok with folding up and tossing after the eating is complete!
Make sure the table is stocked with wet wipes and napkins. If you like the feel of cloth napkins make sure each guest has one and then supplement with wet wipes or rolled wet washcloths.
You can put them in metal galvanized buckets at various spots along the table. Also put out wooden mallets, crab crackers and small forks. You can provide each guest their own set or group sets in the metal galvanized buckets. Extra-large white bowls or buckets are a great way for guests to dispose of shells – this leaves more table surface for eating. Almost everyone has a bar cart these days – consider stocking it with extra utensils, napkins and bowls so you don’t have to run back and forth looking for additional items.
The beauty of creating a party around the seafood boil is you are covering all your bases with one big meal. When serving the food, it’s traditional to put out a variety of dipping sauces including melted butter with a bit of garlic, extra Old Bay seasoning, cut lemons and if you want a creamy dip try mixing sour cream, lemon and Old Bay seasoning. Crusty French bread is an essential pairing as well.
One of the best beverages to serve with this is an Arnold Palmer. Make homemade iced tea and lemonade and serve a mixture in wide mouth mason jars. Wrap the jars in twine to make them easier to grip. In addition, a crisp white chardonnay goes perfectly with seafood.
Tip: The bugs love when food is out....be sure to place Citronella candles and Oscillating fans around the perimeter of your party space to keep insects at bay.
Tip: Modify the recipe and select the size of pot based on the number of people you are serving. You can purchase an oversized stock pot to be used on the kitchen stovetop or use a turkey fryer outdoors to cook for larger groups.
Homemade Iced Tea
6 to 8 tea bags
1 quart hot water (4 cups)
1 quart cold water (4 cups)
1/2 cup sugar or 1/4 cup honey, optional
Use a 2-quart size sauce pan. Put the hot water in it and bring it to a boil. Add the tea bags. Remove the pan from the heat, and allow it to steep for 10 minutes. No more, no less. Set the timer. If the tea sits for too long, it will extract bitter elements from the tea leaves, making the finished product taste horrible. If it doesn’t sit long enough, it won’t be strong enough to give you the caffeine jolt which iced tea was designed for.
When the time is up remove the tea bags. Pour cold water into a 2-quart size pitcher. Pour the hot tea into the pitcher, over top of the cold water.
Add the sugar or honey if you like, stirring to dissolve it completely. Put the pitcher into the fridge to cool. Or it can be poured directly into an ice filled cup.
Easy Homemade Lemonade
1¼ cups fresh squeezed lemon juice
5 cups cold water
1¼ cups sugar
2 lemons, thinly sliced
Combine lemon juice, water and sugar into a large pitcher and stir until sugar is completely dissolved.
Dump lemon slices onto the top of lemonade.
Top with ice to keep it nice and cold.
Seafood Boil with Corn and Potatoes
Serves 6-8 people
4 lemons, halved
6 bay leaves
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons Old Bay seafood seasoning
2 large garlic heads, halved horizontally
6 medium onions, peeled and quartered
2 dried chilies
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
16 sprigs fresh thyme, tied together with kitchen twine
1 pound clams
1 pound mussels
2 pounds new red potatoes, unpeeled, halved if large
8 ears fresh corn, shucked and broken in half
2 pounds tail on shrimp, uncooked (frozen is OK)
6 lobster tails, uncooked (frozen is OK)
2 pounds spicy Cajun style Andouille sausage (whole)
Butter, salt and pepper, hot sauce and French bread for serving order ingredients
Fill a 6 quart stockpot with 4 1/2 quarts of water. Squeeze lemons into water and add rinds. Add bay leaves, seasoning, garlic, onions, chilies, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, and thyme.
Bring water to boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes.
Add potatoes and simmer 12 minutes.
Add corn and simmer 5 minutes.
Add shrimp, lobster, clams, and mussels to pot. Add whole Andouille sausage. Cover, and simmer until lobster is opaque and sausage is cooked through (if not precooked) – about 5 minutes.
If using a steam basket, remove it from the stock pot and serve food right from the basket or dump food onto a newspaper covered table or onto trays. Otherwise, use tongs to pick out the pieces of seafood, corn, sausage, and potatoes into a large bowl.
Serve seafood boil with melted butter and/or hot sauce. Squeeze and spread the cooked garlic on French bread. Serve the corn and potatoes with butter and salt and pepper.