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Fine Rustic Dining (Recipe: Frogmore Stew with Homemade Cocktail Sauce)

June 26, 2012
by Jackie Garvin

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.

Y’all come see us!



Frogmore Stew

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.


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16 Comments leave one →
  1. Wendy permalink
    June 27, 2012 1:19 am

    Cheat even more, use flat breads such as Naan or Pita Breads. Sort of like the Trencher Platters that were used in Medieaval Time.
    Or even those flat Mountain Breads.
    Any of these would be even easier on the planet, plus the guests could eat them or you could feed the “plates” to the chooks or compost heap.

  2. Wendy permalink
    June 27, 2012 1:22 am

    Just had look at your picture, instead of the shooter glasses for individual dip containers use segments of cucumbers hollowed out and filled for the dip container.

  3. June 27, 2012 6:51 am

    I’ve only been to an event like this once and you’re right, everyone ate until they couldn’t move. I don’t eat a lot at one sitting, my problem is the constant graze. :) Working on it.

    This looks fantastic.

    • June 27, 2012 6:55 am


      I know what you mean about constant grazing. It’s the fallout from being in the kitchen so much which is the fallout from being a foodie. Work hazard for us! :)

  4. Ann permalink
    June 27, 2012 7:28 am

    We’ve always called this “Low Country Boil” – my brother lived in Savannah and that’s the first time I had heard of it and had it – but it’s sooooo goooood!!!!! Might be a good plan to have some for the weekend of the fourth since I am off work for five days!!! Thanks Jackie – you really know the good stuff don’t you!!! LOL

    • June 27, 2012 7:30 am


      This is the perfect entertainin’ food! The toughest part can be finding shrimp. I only buy wild harvested. Publix usually has it. :)

      • Ann permalink
        June 28, 2012 9:40 am

        OK, thanks, – so used to getting really “good” shrimp in Mobile and Gulf coast – they are so much better than here!!

  5. June 29, 2012 3:02 pm

    This sounds perfect for a summer party! Now I just need to find a pot big enough! Lovely recipe and photos!

  6. June 30, 2012 8:52 am

    I believe a rustic dining can be fine too. This looks delectable!

  7. June 30, 2012 3:08 pm

    i just love the idea of dumping everything onto the table. that’s my kind of eatin’. :)

  8. Sharon permalink
    October 25, 2012 12:48 pm

    I just found your website. The Crawfish & Shrimp Etouffee search on Google brought me here. I LOVE your recipes and writing. I am bookmarking your site now and look forward to trying all your yummy recipes. :)

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