After having lived in Maryland for five plus years, I fell in love with their wonderful seafood boils. Even the smallest hole-in-the-wall restaurant served up delicious crabs, crab cakes, shrimps all other seafood. I so miss going to a Maryland seafood place. Here is my version of trying to duplicate this wonderful dish.
A crab and shrimp boil is simple and easy to make. The key is fresh ingredients and a good seafood seasoning. In winter months, I do use frozen corn-on-the-cob. Unashamedly, I confess I’m a bit squeamish when it comes to handling live crabs!! So I cheat and purchase the crabs pre-cooked and just steam them near the end of the cooking. This does mean that crabs escape the seasoning; still, the meat is deliciously sweet. I add seasoning when dipping the meat in the seasoned melted butter.
Tools: 5-quart pot with a steamer rack and lid
3 quarters of boiled water
3 Tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
12 ounces of stout beer
1-2 one pound whole Dungeness crab, pre-cooked
1-pound jumbo or extra-large raw shrimps (approximately 21/25 to 26/30 count), cleaned but with shells left on
1-pound butcher sausage links
1-pound small red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into half
2 corn-on-the-cobs, frozen and that have been cut into halves
1 large onion, cut into quarters
1/2 cup of melted butter seasoned with garlic
1-2 fresh cut lemon halves or wedges
Add water, beer and seasoning to a very large pot or kettle on high heat.
Add potatoes and sausages before water comes to a boil. (See cooking notes.) Simmer for about 5 minutes.
Add onions and corn. Gently stir ingredients. Continue to simmer for 2 more minutes. Cover.
Add the raw shrimps to the simmering water, gently stir. Place the steam rack on the pot so that it is about 2 inches above the water. Place the pre-cooked crab in the steam rack. Cover and continue to cook all ingredients for 3 minutes.
Drain water, seafood and vegetables into a strainer. Remove seafood and vegetables to a platter or just dump on newspaper.
Serve melted butter with garlic and fresh cut lemons.
Adding the potatoes at the beginning of the cooking process keeps the potatoes from cooking too fast on the outside. Leaving the shells on the shrimps will add more flavor. Steaming the pre-cooked crab will avoid over cooking it. As noted above, not cooking it in the seasoned water. The meat is still deliciously sweet. If you decide you want the crabs in the seasoning you will of course need to use fresh raw crabs. Adjust your cooking time according to the size and quantity of crabs.