A shrimp boil is the ideal dinner party dish--not only does it require just a single pot for cooking, you don’t even need to use plates or utensils. To clean up, simply roll the newspaper tablecloth into a ball, gathering up the discarded shrimp shells and corn cobs, and throw away. Then rinse your hands and the table’s clean once again! If you can’t find andouille sausage, any heavily spiced pork sausage will do; even kielbasa would even work in a pinch.
Hot sauce is an ideal accompaniment along with ramekins of melted butter. —Lauren Shockey
garlic cloves, smashed
small red onions (about ½ pound total)
Old Bay seasoning
baby red potatoes
pre-cooked Andouille sausage, cut into 4” pieces (about three links, cut in half)
ears corn, each snapped into three pieces
1 1/2 pounds
large shrimp, deveined but shell left on
Combine the garlic, onions, bay leaves, lemons, mustard seeds, Old Bay seasoning, salt and potatoes in a very large stockpot.
Add enough water to cover, about 15 cups, and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes until the potatoes are almost soft.
Raise the heat to medium and add the corn and the sausage. The pot will be crowded at this point, but you’ll want to make sure that the potatoes are completely submerged. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.
When the potatoes are just about soft and their skins are beginning to split, add the shrimp to the pot and stir well, making sure that the shrimp are submerged in the water. Cook for 4 minutes or until the shrimp are bright pink and firm to the touch.
Pour the contents of the pot into a large strainer and discard the onion halves and lemon quarters. Transfer the contents of the strainer to the dining room table and pour directly onto the newspaper. Serve with small ramekins of melted butter for dipping along with hot sauce, if desired.
Lauren Shockey is a New York City-based food writer and author of the cookbook Hangover Helper as well as the culinary memoir Four Kitchens. Previously the restaurant critic at the Village Voice, she has written for such publications as The New York Times, Travel + Leisure and the Wall Street Journal.