Seafood can be enjoyed in various ways, which is one of the best things about it. One particular way to enjoy seafood is by eating them served as a seafood boil.
Since seafood boil can somewhat be a general label, there can be quite a lot of recipes that fall under this category. And how seafood boil is enjoyed can often differ according to the region. Here’s a quick regional rundown of seafood boil to add some variety to your next seafood-tasting adventure.
Louisiana and the Southern Gulf Coast
Louisiana is known for its Cajun-style cooking where crab, shrimp, and crawfish boils are often enjoyed with some Cajun seasoning in Louisiana and the Southern Gulf Coast. Crawfish boils, in particular, are quite popular in this region. In fact, crawfish boils are often a staple in major church and organization fundraisers during spring.
In local tradition, these seafood boils are eaten without any utensils, so the dish can often be a test of strength or endurance for some. Nevertheless, it’s definitely worth it to get the juicy seafood into your mouth.
South Carolina and Georgia
Charleston, South Carolina is the birthplace of the Frogmore Stew, which is a type of seafood boil dish. While the dish’s name can have a few iterations, such as Beaufort Boil, Beaufort Stew, and Lowcountry Boil, it is more commonly referred to as Frogmore Stew. The dish takes its name from a small town on St. Helena Island near Beaufort.
Frogmore stew typically contains boiled shrimp, sausage, potatoes, and corn. However, other ingredients and some special seasonings may also be added into the mix. While it may be a bit similar to the Louisiana seafood boil in terms of ingredients, the seafood boils in South Carolina and Georgia tend to have a milder taste than the ones in Louisiana.
The stew is quite popular in the region since it’s quite easy to prepare in large batches, making it great for feeding a crowd. This is particularly important for this region since large social gatherings are big in South Carolina and Georgia.
Mid-Atlantic and the Chesapeake Bay
The Maryland Crab Fest is quite an event to look forward to in this region due to the abundance of clams, blue crab, and Chincoteague oysters. However, the Mid-Atlantic seafood boils aren’t quite what you’d expect compared to the ones in the South and Southeast. Technically, they aren’t a “boil” since the method of cooking uses steam instead. The seafood is cooked over a crab pot with only a few inches of water or a mixture of beer and vinegar.
A seafood boil is best enjoyed in the New England region as a clambake. The dish is often prepared at a beach in a sandpit that is lined with stones. Driftwood is used to start the fire and the seafood is placed on top of the stones. It is then covered with seaweed and a canvas tarp.
It can be quite amazing how different regions influence the food they produce. You can really tell where a certain seafood boil hails from just based on the taste and method of cooking. And each version is definitely one that is worth trying.
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