Brunch Entree Lunch

LPB Low Country “Boil”

When I moved down South to Sullivan’s Island, which is a stone’s throw from Charleston, I stumbled across a host of Low Country Boils. They reminded me of the New England Lobster Bakes I grew up with up north, but I found the ‘boil’ to be bland.

A boil is every bit as social as a Lobster Bake and brings people together for special occasions or for no reason at all. Both events spur everyone to really enjoy themselves for a good stretch of time. So in that regard, the boil is a home run. But LPB strongly believes that every event should ‘hit’ the five senses and to be honest, the boil comes up somewhat lacking in the taste catagory.

A boil is heavily seasoned with Old Bay or variations of it and includes corn, clams, shrimp, sausages and a lot more. It is all cooked together in water that has been enhanced with bay leaves, spices, herbs and so on. We determined the food could be greatly enhanced by changing the entire methodology, creating an alternative to a one-pot meal of ingredients that just shouldn’t be bubbling together. We turned to seven key ingredients that are separately marinated then grilled, baked or sautéed.

Improvements to this age-old tradition will add extra prep time, labor and expense. Now, of course, you can gather a handful of houseterns to do all the work, but what kind of fun is that? But yes, I get it. We have taken an easy-to-make dinner and made it a bit more complicated. However, it makes a big difference in the taste of the dish. Easy means average. This is not easy, per se, and certainly not average.

The old political saying “it takes a village” is key to the success of this meal. One person cannot do it alone and it’s also a fun part of the night when you assign each dish to different guests to make. With wine flowing, this elevates the interaction of guests and makes for a very fun evening.

Here are the main attractions to our version of this Southern tradition:

  • Grilled little neck clams with shallot basil butter
  • Grilled marinated mustard and basil shrimp
  • Grilled Old Bay bacon scallop kabobs
  • Grilled fresh kielbasa
  • Roasted herbed potatoes
  • Sautéed salted shishito peppers
  • Grilled grain mustard Old Bay corn on the cob

Serves 14

Ingredients

  • Clams:
  • 2 pounds of little neck clams, put in ice water with 1/2 cup of flour a half-hour before grilling, so they spit the sand out
  • 2 cups of fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 16 ounces of unsalted butter (two sticks)
  • 3 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons of chives, finely chopped
  • Shrimp:
  • 2 pounds of fresh peeled and deveined shrimp from a fish market
  • 1 cup of Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese, freshly ground
  • 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • Scallops
  • 2 pounds of FRESH scallops (frozen scallops are the devil’s revenge)
  • 2 pounds of hickory smoked bacon, baked at 400 degrees for 12 minutes to partially cook
  • 1/2 cup of Old Bay seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Mini wooden skewers soaked in water for 30 minutes
  • Kielbasa:
  • 2 pounds of freshly-made kielbasa from your butcher. Your local supermarket will not have this.
  • Potatoes:
  • 2 pounds of small potatoes, should be about a 1/2 inch or cut to that size
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly-ground black pepper
  • Shishito Peppers:
  • 1 pound of shishito peppers
  • A shower of kosher salt
  • Corn:
  • 4 ears of fresh farm stand corn
  • 1 cup of dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup of Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt

This mosaic does not come together easily, but if you source out each item to different groups at your party, it creates a fun start to a great night. You have seven items to prepare. Make the bacon and marinate the shrimp and scallops in advance. When guests arrive, throw a glass of wine or cocktail in their hand, put the ingredients out, print out these instructions and assign tasks according to the skill sets of your guests. (For those without proper skills, assign them to serve drinks!)

Making It

Turn the grill to medium high and the oven to 400 degrees. Create 7 piles of ingredients and get it going.

  • Clams, 6-8 minutes: put a tablespoon of olive oil in a sauce pan over medium heat, add shallots and red pepper flakes and sauté till translucent, then add the butter and basil. When fully melted and bubbling, let simmer for 5 minutes to bring the flavor together. At the same time, put the clams on the grill. When they open widely, put in a large bowl. When complete, shower the clams with the delicious butter mix
  • Shrimp, 3 hours: Well before the guests arrive take all of the ingredients and whisk together, mix in the shrimp and refrigerate for 3 hours. Pierce the shrimp on the water-soaked skewers, grill for 2-3 minutes each side, based on their size
  • Scallops, 3 hours: At the same time as you marinate the shrimp, add the scallops to a large bowl, toss in olive oil and Old Bay seasoning. Toss and refrigerate for three hours. Roast the bacon in advance as well. Turn the oven to 400 degrees and lay the bacon out on a baking sheet lines with tinfoil, bake for 12 minutes. Let the bacon cool. When guests come, have the scallop team wrap the bacon around the scallop and pierce with the water soaked skewer to keep together. Grill for 4 minutes before flipping and cooking for another 2-3 minutes, depending on size
  • Kielbasa, 12 minutes: Bake the fresh kielbasa at 400 degrees for 10 minutes in advance of guests arriving. Finish them off on the grill, 2-3 minutes each side
  • Potatoes, 25 minutes: Spread the potatoes out on a baking sheet lined with tinfoil and in a separate bowl mix all of the ingredients, pour over the potatoes, mix and roast in a 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes depending on their size
  • Shishito Peppers, 7 minutes: Put a dutch oven over a high flame and add olive oil, allow it to get very hot, but not smoking. Add peppers and blister them, remove and shower with salt
  • Corn, 5-8 Minutes: Shuck the fresh corn and mix other ingredients together and rub on each ear, grill until done. The fresher the corn, the faster it cooks. You want some kernels blackened. Cut into thirds

The traditional way to serve a proper boil is to cover your outdoor table with newspapers before tossing everything in the strained pot right down the middle of the table. People just dig in with tongs to fill their plate and go off to eat. We switched that up a bit and layered the ingredients on the two large platters and placed in the center of the table. We put the potatoes on the bottom, followed by shishito peppers. Put the corn and kielbasa around the edge, staggering them along the side, adding the shrimp and scallops. Finally, put the clams and butter sauce on top, sprinkle with chives, basil leaves and serve.

We have come up with some other recipes from things you will see on the menus of some of the great spots down here in the South.

Chicken LP-Bog

If you have ever visited us on Sullivan’s Island then you no doubt have been to the Obstinate Daughter for the Friday night welcome dinner.  Since guests always come in on Friday, but at different times, we kick the weekend off with cocktails at the house, usually the Frozen Vodka with Basil and then golf cart downContinue Reading

Spicy Lamb Gravy and Biscuits

This great start to a brunch is a Greek twist on an old southern staple, sausage gravy and biscuits.  Our true southern neighbor in Washington D.C., Jan, is an expert on all traditional southern regional dishes and has given this new approach a double thumbs up.  It has a kick to it and the spice inContinue Reading

Tomato Bread

I have reached my limit with avocado toast especially since it keeps popping up everywhere and is served all day long. Frankly, not to be rude, but Guacamole tastes much better on a tortilla chip. Also, in the summertime, I am always trying to come up with a new salad or kick-off to a dinner.  Even thoughContinue Reading

“Spanish” Tomato Bread

We have spent a lot of time in Spain from Barcelona to Madrid and just about everywhere else.  The one thing we look forward the most is the tomato bread which has now gone global.  In it’s simplest version is grilled bread with raw garlic rubbed on in, a little olive oil, then you smushContinue Reading

Patty Melt

I am not sure who married the burger to a grilled cheese, but I have been a fan of patty melts since my childhood in the seacoast of New Hampshire when the local burger joint, Friendly’s, was the go-to lunch spot for the 12 to 17 year old crowd.  They mastered the Fribble, their versionContinue Reading

Cucumber Dill Salad

Summer salads are something to wait for all year long, but when the summer weather starts to appear there is still some lag time for garden ripened tomatoes to arrive at roadside stands and farmers’ market.  My solution?  Cherry tomatoes mixed in with hot house cucumbers, thinly sliced red onions, feta cheese and dill. ThisContinue Reading

Tzatziki Cream Cheese

A good bagel can be hard to find, and delicious tzatziki cream cheese to accompany it is even harder. Sometimes, you have to make it for yourself. This Greek mix of herbs and vegetables can put just about every processed vegetable cream cheese to shame. It’s a simple and great addition to any bagel. IngredientsContinue Reading

The Bagel

I would never suggest making a bagel but you should try to find the best shop in town that makes this great quality breakfast treat. The rest you can do on your own….which means moving beyond the traditional toppings. We mix 1/3 cup each of cream cheese, goat cheese, feta cheese in a food processorContinue Reading

Sausage and Fennel Bolognese

Meat sauces are a gratifying base to a hearty meal.  The mere slow simmering of the ragu for 2 1/1 hours adds a delicious incense to welcome your guests as the arrive.  You can select from veal, beef, and sausage to create a robust meal for everyone to enjoy.  This recipe focuses on pork butContinue Reading

Pimento Dip

Everyone is South Carolina has their version of Pimento Dip…here is our version of this cheesy treat that we either just serve with crackers, mix into cheese and grits, broil over crostini and on and on… Ingredients  1 cup yellow extra sharp cheddar cheese 1 cup white extra sharp cheddar cheese 4 ounces cream cheese,Continue Reading

Tuna Poke

We always have a small issue when newcomers join for their first dinner at Le Poisson Bleu.  Many of the first timers think that the appetizer and cocktail hour is actually a buffet dinner so when it is time to sit for the meal they are completely full.  Ooops.  So over the years we haveContinue Reading

Dill Buttermilk Salad

Leon’s Oyster Shop in Charleston is a favorite spot for fried chicken, oysters and if you get there in person be sure to sample their amazing appetizers and side dishes.  One of my favorite salads is a creamy dill buttermilk wedge salad which is the inspiration for this recipe. Serves 8 The Salad  2 headsContinue Reading

https://www.instagram.com/lpbcooks/

1 comment on “LPB Low Country “Boil”

  1. Pingback: A Washington Dinner Party – Cooking Conveniently and with Purpose #LPBcooks

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: