Zingy Memorial Day Frogmore Stew

Once, during Prohibition, I was forced to live for days on nothing but food and water.
W. C. Fields

With terribly hot weather in store for several more days, it is hard to think about doing much of anything that involves a great amount of physical exertion so we kind of planned to lay low, stay off the roadways, the packed waterways, and beaches holiday.  So for some holiday feasting, we did the usual grill time cookouts keeping things rather easy, but the highlight for most of our summer lazy holidays is always an outdoor covered porch or poolside patio low country boil for a crowd,  just a few or two that features wonderful local fresh seafood and farm stand fresh vegetables.  Roll out the brown paper to serve as the tablecloth, and to hold the scraps of peeled shrimp shells and cobs…of course, play with the amounts of your ingredients depending on the number of guests.

I always begin with good homemade seafood stocks that I have frozen over several months that include lobster stock, clam broth and any mild fish stocks that I have accumulated.  I’m never happy with a boxed or canned stock as I find them too fishy and strong, homemade takes little time if I’m dealing with shrimp on a weekly basis, we have lobster fests here and there during the year while the fish markets are constant sources for bones, etc.  Outside of that a couple of pounds of fresh shrimp, freshly shucked corn, a variety of sausages and baby potatoes all cooked in a hearty well-seasoned broth served with toasted Italian bread slices, a wonderful platter of lightly dressed summer tomatoes and a pile of napkins…a fine summer seaside bowl of goodness sure to please…oh and before I forget Hugh Acheson’s roasted tomato Miso vinaigrette is a fabulous new addition to the summer tomato routine.

Low country boil hints, add the herbs to the pot when you are sautéing the chopped vegetables, add all of the liquid ingredients including the pod of concentrated stock if using

1 tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, save some for garnish like I didn’t
2 leaves of fresh Cuban oregano torn into pieces
1 1/2 tablespoons Phillips seafood seasoning
zest of 1 lemon for the pot, 3 slices for the pot +  extra lemon wedges  if you want to add a squeeze to the bowls at the table
salt and pepper
several baby potatoes
12 ounces kielbasa, sliced in 2 ” chunks
another sausage of choice sliced in chunks, I found a sweet and spicy package of grilled links perfect for the pot
2 pounds of shrimp shell on, if you don’t like peel and eat, use peeled shrimp
1 can diced San Marzano tomatoes, drained and juice reserved or 6 fresh Roma tomatoes, chopped
3/4 cup Zing Zang’s Bloody Mary mix or Clamato juice, I prefer Zing Zang’s oh and that Charleston Bloody Mary is  pretty good if you can find it
4-5 cups of seafood stock
1 pod concentrated chicken stock
2 cups of water
1 cleaned and sliced leek, white and light green parts
1 celery heart, leaves and all chopped
3 cloves of smashed and minced garlic
4 ears of corn per person cut in half, more if you like
Grilled and garlic-rubbed country bread slices

Have ready a large pot big enough to hold all of the ingredients, heat over medium heat and add 1+1/2 tablespoons EVOO and 1+1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, gently sauté all of the vegetables, add all of the liquid ingredients, tomatoes and simmer on low for at least 30, taste for seasoning, when ready to finish add the corn, potatoes, and sausages cook on medium-low until potatoes are tender, finally add the shrimp and cook until they turn pink about 4 or so minutes in my case today as the broth was boiling hot.

Serve in large bowls and have a nice plate of grilled bread ready for dunking…