Company this weekend? Summer is all about casual entertaining, and here (said she modestly) is the perfect summer supper. Crowd-pleasing, minimal prep and cooking time, surf and turf.
Did I have you at hello, or what.
Ladies and gentlemen, all the way from the South Carolina Lowcountry, I give you Frogmore Stew.
You may be relieved to know that Frogmore Stew is 100% frog-free, and not really a stew. More a boil, as it is known by its other name, Lowcountry Shrimp Boil. Anyway the “stew” is named after a little town on St. Helena Island, South Carolina, outside Beaufort (pronounced BEWfort, SC, not to be confused with BOWfort, NC). I know this because we have cousins who live on St Helena Island, and you have to go through Frogmore to get their house.
And man is it worth the trip because my cousin and godmother Caroline is a fabulous cook. Here is her recipe for Frogmore Stew. Some include potatoes, but this one doesn’t. Use large shrimp, and don’t overcook them. Nothing is worse than mushy shrimp.
Because there are messy peels and cobs, spread the table with newspapers and roll it all up when you’re finished. Well I say easy but that is until the wind kicks up, in which case, cue the masking tape and a few rocks. All will be calm by suppertime.
Serve with a salad and some good French or sourdough bread. For dessert, how about a delicious Lemon Pudding Cake or this ridiculously good Lemon Pie With Saltine Cracker Crust, a good ol’ North Carolina staple I’ve also introduced to our California ranch repertoire. I am slowly corrupting them…
Safe to say Frogmore Stew was a first for Rancho La Zaca and possibly for the Santa Ynez Valley, but I could be wrong about that. His Grace (aka my husband for new readers) loved it.
Bonus labor-saving device: When everyone is finished, have them peel all the remaining shrimp, for shrimp salad the next day.
By way of background, Frogmore, SC, is a wide spot in the road with a tomato packing plant, a general store, and a stop sign. Oh, and an art gallery. It’s also right near the historic Penn School, now the Penn Center, established in 1862 as a school for freed slaves. A century later it was a meeting place for Martin Luther King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. One Penn School student was outsider artist Sam Doyle, whose highly collectible work hangs in museums all over the country.
I thought y’all would be interested in all that. I also learned that St Helena was occupied by the Yankees during just about the entire Civil War. They don’t talk about that much down there.
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