Seafood Boil

I’m writing this on the Fourth of July, and I just got back from my evening walk around the neighborhood. I’m salivating from the tantalizing smells of the barbecues wafting through the air.

Rather than a typical barbecue, though, I opted for something a bit different for us this year: a seafood boil. It smacks of summertime and the thought of something new appealed to me–that and the pictures on Nicole’s The Galley Gourmet blog looked stunningly delectable.

The ease of this recipe surprised me. Toss a few herbs and spices into a pot, immerse your potatoes and corn and sausage, then top it off with the shrimp and clams–and voila, you have a sumptuous seafood medley full of lip-smacking deliciousness. Well, there’s a bit more to it than that but not much, really. Try it. Easy. Fun. Delicious. What more could you ask?

Almost forgot: For the dipping butter, I used my zester to grate a couple of cloves of garlic into melted butter. I used some shrimp butter I had frozen in the fridge that I made last time we had shrimp. Save the shells from raw shrimp, rinse, then boil with a stick of butter for a few minutes, strain out shells, and you have shrimp butter. I froze mine in ice cube trays then popped the frozen cubes into a Ziploc baggie.

Seafood Boil

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 (12-ounce) beer
  • 1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 quarts water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 2 tbsp. Old Bay seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 2 pounds small new red potatoes
  • 14-16 oz. kielbasa sausage
  • 14-16 oz. andouille sausage
  • 8 ears of corn, halved or cut into rounds
  • 2 pounds large shrimp, shell on
  • 2 dozen clams

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a very large dutch oven or stock pot over high heat, bring beer, onion, water, bay leaves, lemon, Old Bay seasoning, and salt to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat to a medium simmer and add potatoes. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
  3. Add the sausage and corn and cook for another 10 minutes or until potatoes can easily be pierced with a knife, the corn is cooked, and the sausage is warmed through.
  4. Add the shrimp and clams (or place in a steamer basket or steam separately), cover, and cook until the shrimp are pink and the clams have opened, another 3-4 minutes.
  5. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the onions, potatoes, sausage, corn, shrimp, and clams to a large platter. Ladle the broth over the meat and vegetables.

SOURCE: The Galley Gourmet

Clam Chowder

I awoke on a Sunday morning, my rest and relaxation day, with soup on the mind, so I scoured my latest cookbooks and decided to attempt clam chowder. Not just any clam chowder, but the kind that starts with real clams. I talked hubby into going to a nearby Asian market, one that is huge and carries all kinds of goods that are foreign to my cooking repertoire, things like pigs blood (your choice of solid or liquid); duck uterus; feet of duck, pig, chicken, pork (take your pick!); black chicken (never seen that before!); pork brains, snout, heart, and tongue; and beef heart. What an adventure to walk the meat section. Ah, I digress.

So, the Asian market carries clams and their prices are low compared to our usual market: $1.99/lb. vs. $6.99/lb…big difference, huh? Bummer that the clams were all sold out, though, because I was soooooo in the mood to make chowder starting with live clams. And I was not going to pay $6.99/lb. when the recipe calls for a whopping 7 pounds of clam in the shell.

Plan B: use the minced, canned clams recommended by the recipe book. Thankfully our usual market carries them. And truth be told, it sure cut down the workload, for it took awhile to dice the potatoes and onions, mince the parsley and thyme, and cut the bacon. Not hard but just some prep work. It sure would have added a bit of time to steam and shuck the clams. I still want to make this chowder with live clams one day, though, to see if there is a noticeable difference in taste, but that shall have to wait.

Soup turned out flavorful. Nothing to rave about compared to the chowder I’ve eaten at Duke’s in Seattle or other seafood restaurants, though. I’d like to make it thicker next time…either less broth and/or a bit more flour for thickening. Perhaps some more spices…something to make the flavor more memorable…maybe Old Bay Seasoning like I use in my corn chowder recipe (not yet posted). Hubby wants less bacon although I really liked the bacon flavor. And, to add more heartiness, I think I’ll add 1 cup of chopped celery plus 1 cup chopped carrot

I’d certainly make this again and play around with the ingredients a bit, but it’s not one that left me drooling for more much as I love clam chowder. With that, I offer you the recipe and welcome any alterations you may come up with:

New England Clam Chowder

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INGREDIENTS

  • 4 (6.5 oz) cans minced clams, juice drained and reserved (recommended brands: Doxsee or Snows)
  • 2 (8-oz) bottles clam juice (recommended brands: Doxsee or Snows)
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 large Spanish onion (produce worker said brown onions are comparable)
  • 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 lbs. red potatoes (about 3 medium), scrubbed and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh thyme leaves or 1/4 tsp. dry thyme
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp. minced fresh parsley leaves
  • salt and ground black or white pepper

DIRECTIONS

  1. In Dutch oven, fry bacon over medium-low heat until fat is rendered and bacon is crisp, 5-7 minutes.
  2. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add flour and stir until lightly colored, about 1 minute.
  4. Gradually whisk in bottled clam juice, reserved juice from canned clams, and water. (Perhaps adding the juice from cans thinned out soup base too much)
  5. Add potatoes, bay leaf, and thyme; simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.
  6. Add reserved minced clams, cream, parsley, and salt (if necessary) and pepper to taste; bring to simmer, but do not boil
  7. Remove pan from heat; discard bay leaf. Serve immediately.

SOURCE: The New Recipe Book (pgs. 69-70)