Low Country Boil

Low Country Boil, which is sometimes referred to as Frogmore Stew, is a simple seafood stew. It originates in Louisiana, somewhere along the banks of the Mississippi. It uses seafood that is found in abundance in the Mississippi delta: crawfish, crab, large shrimp. Traditionally, corn, potatoes and Andouille sausage are added. All ingredients that come quite cheap in that region of the US.

Some of the ingredients are not always easy to find in Belgium. Some might not be as cheap as in the US. Check your local food stores or supermarkets, and you will find most ingredients. I buy the crawfish, crab and shrimp at Makro: you can find both frozen and fresh seafood there. You’ll find Old Bay seasoning in American expat shops for sure. I buy mine at Graré in Antwerp.

Andouille sausage is very hard to come by, but I’ve found that Polish sausage comes close. So I substitute the Andouille sausage with Polish sausage I buy at Makro.

Low Country Boil

Method: (serves 6)

Remove the husks from the corn and chop each cob in to 6 pieces. Clean the potatoes and cut into bite size pieces; no need to peel them. Clean the onion and cut in to 6 wedges. Rinse the lemon with plenty of water to remove dirt and possible chemicals and cut into 6 wedges. Put the potatoes, corn, onion and lemon wedges in a large pot and cover with water. Season with 3tlsp of Old Bay, 1tlsp of cayenne pepper, 1tps of smoked paprika 2 bay leafs and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to the boil.

If you are using fresh seafood, add your fresh crab and fresh crawfish now.

Cut the sausages in bite size dice. About 20 minutes in to the boil, add the sausage. This would also be a good time to add your seafood if you are using precooked and frozen seafood. Make sure your seafood is completely defrosted before you add it. Cook for a further 10 minutes or until the potatoes and corn are done. Turn off the heat.

When you use fresh prawns or frozen but uncooked prawns, add them now. The residual heat will cook the prawns in a matter of minutes. The prawns are cooked when the are pink on the outside. I recommend to use fresh or frozen but uncooked prawns because precooked prawns get really chewy when you reheat them. If you’re using frozen prawns, let them defrost before adding them. When the prawns are cooked, you’re ready to serve.

Best way to serve it? On a large platter in the middle of the table so all your guest can dig in and share. A good beer and some fun stories with the dish will get a party stared for sure. But if it needs to be a bit posh, serve it in a bowl and top it will some spring onion and a parsley.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cobs of corn, husks removed
  • 1 large white onion
  • 1 lemon
  • 1kg of little potatoes
  • 12 large shrimp
  • 1kg of crawfish
  • 6 crablegs
  • 3 sausages
  • 3tbsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 1tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1tps smoked paprika
  • 2 bay leafs
  • Salt & pepper
  • Spring onion (optional)
  • Parsley (optional)

Refreshing Summer Dish

Homemade Gazpacho

My homemade gazpacho is a quick and easy dish, very refreshing… The ideal dish for a hot summer’s day. And you don’t even have to be in Spain to enjoy it. It takes about 15 minutes to prepare. So why don’t you give it a go?

Method: (serves 4)

Peel your tomatoes and the cucumber, chop in to bite size chunks, and put them in a blender. Peel the red onion and chop it. Peel the garlic. Chop up the green pepper. I don’t bother to deseed it. But if you don’t like spicy food, take out the seed. It will be less spicy. Add the chopped onion, garlic and the green pepper to the blender. Remove the crust of the bread and chop it in bite size chunk before adding it to the blender. Add a couple of table spoons of good olive oil and vinegar. Blend until smooth. Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste. Give a quick blitz and then chill in the fridge for at least an hour.

Before serving, top it with some watercress and julienne of chorizo. And serve it with some toast.

Use a dense white bread. I like to use Colruyt‘s Swedish white bread. Gazpacho is the prefect recipe to use that leftover bread that is a few days old by-the-way.

Don’t know how to peel tomatoes? Check out this YouTube video.

Ingredients:

  • 5 fresh tomatoes, peeled
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled
  • 1/3 of a loaf of white bread
  • 1 small red onion, peeled
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 green pepper
  • olive oil
  • sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • salt & pepper

Summer on a Plate

Dazzle your friends with a very summery salad. This salad with octopus, tomatoes and feta looks impressive but it takes minutes to assemble.

Summer Salad with Tomatoes, Octopus and Fetta

I used store bought marinated octopus, a selection of tomatoes in different colors–make sure they are juicy and ripe–and good feta. Sprinkle on some salt, black pepper and some extra virgin olive oil, and you’re almost set.

The part that impressed people the most, are the little additions: pea shoots, violets, watercress, rosemary and thyme flowers, monks cress and beet leaves. And the cool thing about it is, you can grow all those in your own garden. I do!