Fine Rustic Dining (Recipe: Frogmore Stew with Homemade Cocktail Sauce)
I’m not so far out in la-la land that I don’t recognize that fine dining and rustic dining are diametrically opposed. However, rustic dining that’s really good is fine. That’s how you get fine rustic dining. Frogmore Stew is as fine as you can get when it comes to rustic dining. You cook everything in one pot, cover the table in newspaper and then strow the food all down the center of the table. Of course, with rustic dining this fine, you must use disposable plates and utensils. While you’re choosing your plates, think about scoring some brownie points with the environment and select paper, not styrofoam.
So, let’s review where we stand thus far. You only dirty up one BIG pot. You cover your table with newspaper. You use disposable plates and utensils. Clean up means washing one BIG pot, dragging the garbage can around to the table and raking everything from the table into the garbage can. I can’t think of anything any finer. It makes me misty eyed.
Notice I didn’t say anything about putting up the leftovers before you start raking the table top. There ‘s good reason. You won’t have leftovers. People will sit at your table and eat until they are about to explode. Be prepared for considerable moaning afterwards. More than likely, you’ll see some of your people rolling around on the floor complaining about how they ate too much.
I don’t advocate filling your gut every time you sit down to eat. Americans have a problem with portion control. Our problem is that we can’t control our portions. Eating in moderation is part of a healthy lifestyle. The reality is that most of us indulge from time to time. If you feel like you’re way over due for an indulgence, let it be with this fine rustic dining experience. You don’t have a big clean up facing you after the meal’s over so you can roll around on the floor with the best of them.
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yield: 6 to 8 servings
You may know this as Shrimp Boil. I like the name Frogmore Stew. It’s more fun than Shrimp Boil. You can call it Shrimp Boil when you make it.
I fed 6 adults and 2 children with this amount. The only thing left was the shrimp shells.
1 pound smoked sausage, sliced one inch diagonally, browned, drained and set aside (I prefer Conecuh brand)
2 gallons water
2 lemons, quartered
3/4 cup table salt (if using kosher, measure a full cup)
4 bags shrimp and crab boil
1 tablespoon liquid shrimp and crab boil concentrate
6 – 8 ears fresh corn
1 – 1 1/2 pounds small potatoes, whole (I used baby Dutch)
5 pounds raw shrimp in shells, deheaded (I prefer wild harvested from the Gulf of Mexico)
Place water, lemons, salt and crab/shrimp boil (bags and liquid concentrate) in a large pot and bring to a rolling boil. Add potatoes and corn, resume boil and cook for 5 minutes. I used small potatoes (1 1/2 – 2 inches in diameter). If you prefer to use larger potatoes, they would require additional cooking time and should be added before corn. Add sausage and shrimp. Bring to a boil, cover and remove from heat for 10 minutes.
For casual, very casual dining, spread newspaper on the table. Drain the Frogmore stew and scatter it down the middle of the table. Have butter and homemade cocktail sauce on hand.
Homemade Cocktail Sauce
I prefer horseradish cream to plain grated horseradish in this sauce recipe. It’s a little smoother and doesn’t make you get that horseradish thingy in your nose quite as much.
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon horseradish cream
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
juice of one lemon
Mix all ingredients well. Chill before serving.