The other weekend, we had a friend around. We lounged about on the couch, flicking through channels and watching whatever looked interesting on TV.
We ended up watching an American cooking show on Food TV and were immediately intrigued by a crab boil party thrown by the host of the show. It reminded me of some of my childhood days when my father used to cook up a whole lot of crabs and we used to sit around the dining table, which was lined with newspaper, and dig in. We decided that the party looked like fun – why shouldn’t we have a go at it the following weekend?
Rather than use crabs, we decided on prawns as they involve less effort in getting to the meat (I know, we’re lazy!). After a bit of research, I found that clams were also sometimes used. As well as this, a lot of people seemed to use Old Bay Seasoning in their boil parties. This seems to be an ingredient easily acquired in the States, but not so much here in New Zealand – luckily, I was able to buy a tin from Martha’s Backyard in Mt Wellington.
We ended up really enjoying ourselves. A shrimp boil party is a great way to sit around, talking and grazing. It is easy to prepare for a large number of people (although this does depend on how big your largest pot is) and all you have to do is pile up all the food in the middle of the table along with some condiments and finger bowls. It is definitely a social way of eating, as you take your time with the food, just like with a steamboat party.
So this is not a recipe, but an idea for the next time you want to host a dinner or lunch party for some friends or family. There aren’t any quantities as it depends on how many people you have coming around and if they are particularly big eaters or not.
For a shrimp boil party, you will need to get lemons, garlic, Old Bay Seasoning, ground cayenne pepper, beer, prawns (or crabs or crayfish), clams (or mussels), smoked sausage (I couldn’t get andouille so I bought some smoked kransky and chorizo), corn on the cob and red skinned potatoes.
First, use the largest pot you have which can fit everything you have in it. Fill it with some water, a bottle of beer, some cut lemons and garlic bulbs, a good amount of Old Bay Seasoning and ground cayenne pepper.
Bring it to the boil and then add your potatoes. Cook until they are not quite done and then add your corn and sliced sausages.
Once they are nearly cooked, put your prawns in.
Then once they start changing colour, add the clams. Put the lid on.
As soon as everything is cooked, drain the liquid and pour (or scoop) everything out onto the middle of your table. (You can take out the lemons and garlic if you like.)
Make sure you also have condiments to go with your food. I put some hot sauce, cut lemons, butter, Old Bay Seasoning and preserved lemon mayonnaise (very easy to make – finely chop up some preserved lemon rind and mix with good quality mayonnaise) on the table. Some people also serve cocktail sauce. We had iced lemon tea with our meal, which was refreshing and cleansing.
Then there’s only one thing to do – put your bibs on and dig in! Delightfully messy, lots of fun and so delicious!
This post is part of the monthly link up party Our Growing Edge. This event aims to connect food bloggers and inspire us to try new things. This month is hosted by Jules from The Kiwi Diaries. You can check out her great blog here.
You can find out more about Our Growing Edge by clicking here.