Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Louisiana Seafood Boil Louisiana Boil did not wind up looking like this.  But for good reason
I came across this recipe while looking for inspiration for seafood recipes.  I was leafing through the latest addition to my sizable collection of cookbooks by the British chef Jamie Oliver.  Aptly enough, the cookbook is called Jamie's America.  Jamie's Louisiana Seafood Boil leapt out at me -- it looked so dramatic on the page.

As I started to assemble the ingredients, I realized I'd have to dash to the store to buy a number of the spices, for example, fennel seeds are not normally something I keep to hand.  It was a pretty hefty list, which just went on and on (there were some 25 or so different ingredients), so to simplify matters (aka cheat) I grabbed a tin of Beck's Cajun Devil Dust which seemed to assemble a number of those self-same ingredients.  (I still went to get the fennel seed, however.)

I dutifully bought my crabs, jumbo - heads on - shrimp and thought I'd improvise and throw in a couple of little neck clams.

The ingredients looked great:

I even remembered a trick I'd learned from a Girls' Night Out at the Reading Terminal Market's cooking school, La Cucina, when Chef Bill demonstrated how to cut up corn on the cob effortlessly.  (Worth knowing this...take a heavy knife and cut as far into the cob as you can, then lift the knife and corn off your work surface, keep one hand on the handle and the other on top of the blunt side of the blade and thwack it down on your work surface.  Corn neatly falls into two pieces.  Cool or what?)

The recipe wasn't particularly tricky once you'd cleared the hurdle of your shopping list... 

You throw everything except the fresh seafood into a deep pan and boil fiercely so that the corn and red potatoes cook through.  Then 5 minutes before the end you drop in the seafood and once the seafood turns a pretty pink color then you know it's cooked nicely.

Mine turned out like this.

Doesn't look much like Jamie's does it.  Small problem.  The recipe didn't specify what type of crab to use.  I bought the only fresh crabs that the store had in stock this morning.  Didn't realize until I got home that the fishmonger had sold me SOFT SHELLS. 

There was nothing for it. 

I had to press on.

The end result tasted good...but did not look quite as beautiful as I'd hoped.  I also thought there was too much messing around with ingredients.  I thought this was supposed to be a quick and easy fireside boil.  Well this recipe wasn't.  Fennel seeds and allspice berries.  Harrrrumph.

So, instead of sharing Jamie's recipe, here's a link to a much simpler version shared by the Greater New Orleans Times newspaper.  Far less fuss, this one...

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