Quick & Easy Southern Favorite: Frogmore StewPosted: May 31, 2011
With the unofficial start of summer, it is time to put back into the dinner rotation one of our family favorites, Frogmore Stew. Also known as Lowcountry Boil, I have been serving it regularly for close to 18 years, ever since my parents moved to Hilton Head Island in the heart of the South Carolina Lowcountry. Easy and delicious, it is a one soup pot wonder that can easily be adapted to whatever number of people happens to be sitting down to supper at your table.
I don’t know if Richmonders are all familiar with this South Carolina specialty. Despite its name, no frogs are sacrificed in its creation. Legend has it that many years ago a local fisherman in the small fishing community of Frogmore on St. Helena Island (north of Hilton Head and west of Fripp Island) threw this concoction together with the slim pickings he had caught that day. I can only imagine his delight when he tried the first savory bite and realized that he had a winner.
Southerners still think Frogmore Stew is a winner. My new favorite magazine, Garden & Gun, recently completed a Facebook competition for the South’s favorite food. Set up like the NCAA Final Four basketball bracket, Facebook fans voted in head to head challenges (see the entire bracket here). While Shrimp and Grits beat out Pulled Pork in the final upset vote, the Cinderella of G&G’s Final Four was Frogmore Stew. Despite my love of Frogmore Stew, I do think it had a home court advantage as Garden & Gun is based in the unofficial capital of the Lowcountry, Charleston.
Because Frogmore Stew has so few ingredients, I will only serve it when I can get fresh corn. There is nothing worse than biting into a mealy ear of corn that the supermarkets put out in the winter and early spring. While our local corn won’t be ready to pick until July at the earliest, my local farm stand, Shep’s Produce (located on Libbie Avenue just south of Patterson Avenue Tuesday-Saturdays, May-October), has friends in Florida ship up some sweet tasting varieties that can survive the trip to Virginia.
So long as you’ve got fresh corn, the hardest part of the meal is shucking it. Everything else about it is easy and easily adjusted to your taste and hunger level. You will need
1/4 lb. baby red potatoes per person
1/4-1/2 lb. sausage or kielbasa per person, sliced into 1/2″- 1 1/2″ pieces
1+ ear of corn per person, shucked and broken in 2 pieces
1/4 lb. shelled – 1/2 lb. unshelled raw shrimp
1/4 cup Old Bay seasoning for every 4 people (adjust as your heart desires)
To get started, bring a large soup part of water about half full to boil. Add potatoes, sausage and Old Bay, and cook on high for 8 minutes. Add the corn and cook another 8 minutes. Then add the shrimp and cook just until it turns pink, 2-3 minutes.
Drain and serve in a large bowl.
Could dinner be any easier? The Old Bay and sausage combine to flavor the other ingredients in a simple and satisfying Lowcountry taste. Loved by Southerners all over, why not serve it up to your hungry crowd this summer. Bet they’ll all be avad fans.