Have you ever participated in a shrimp boil? They make for a fun, outdoor meal with newspaper spread all over a table and lots of shrimp, smoked sausage, ears of corn and new potatoes thrown on top for everyone to dig right in. There's really no wrong way to do it. But whew! What a mess it can create with shrimp shells and spent ears of corn left in piles.
There's an easy way to enjoy the taste of a shrimp boil without all the fuss though. Skillet corn, shrimp and sausage is a delicious, one-pot shrimp boil — minus the potatoes.
I found this recipe in Southern Living and have seen it since in various incarnations, sometimes with cooked new potatoes seasoned and added at the end, giving it all the trappings of a shrimp boil without the fuss. Cajun seasoning adds to the shrimp boil flavors.
This is the perfect time to use all of the delicious local corn that's in the markets now, especially that sweet, delicious Peaches and Cream variety if you can find it. But you can use any frozen corn you have in the freezer as well. This dish is flexible in that regard, though I can't imagine not using local summer corn, if possible. With cream cheese and heavy cream mixed in, you can't go wrong. Give me this over a shrimp boil any day of the week.
Skillet Corn With Shrimp and Smoked Sausage
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 cups fresh corn kernels
1 cup chopped sweet onion
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup heavy cream or half-and-half
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, plus more for garnish
1 teaspoon olive oil
8 ounces smoked sausage, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 pound medium-size peeled, deveined raw shrimp
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning, such as Zatarain's
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high. Add corn and onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 8 minutes. Stir in cream cheese, heavy cream or half-and-half, pepper and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Cook, stirring constantly, until cream cheese melts, 2 minutes. Stir in chives. Remove pan from heat; cover to keep warm.
Heat oil in a separate large skillet over medium-high. Add sausage; cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, 6 minutes. Drain on paper towels, reserving drippings in pan. Sprinkle shrimp with Cajun seasoning. Add to pan; cook over medium-high, stirring occasionally, until shrimp turn pink, 3 minutes. Serve corn topped with sausage, shrimp, chives and parsley.
Shrimp gone wild
Speaking of shrimp, wild shrimp, though hard to find in Chattanooga, are the best as far as flavor is concerned. Farm-raised shrimp have little, if any, flavor. Here are a couple of ways to bring wild shrimp fresh from the sea into your home.
* Biloxi Shrimp Co. will deliver wild shrimp to your door for a great price: 2 pounds for as little as $17. Jumbo goes for a little more. Orders take just a couple of days to arrive, so place them today and you'll have fresh wild shrimp for the weekend. More information can be found online at biloxishrimpco.com.
* Interestingly, shrimp sales increased dramatically when news of meat shortages arose due to the pandemic. That's when Paul Piazza and Son Seafood, based in New Orleans, decided to offer sales of its wild-caught shrimp online to those who want wild shrimp but are having a tough time finding it.
The shrimp come in various sizes, from small to colossal — shell-on or shelled and deveined — and are shipped right to your door. No need to don your mask and go to the grocery store. Order 3 pounds or more and two-day shipping is free.
The new direct-to-consumer buying portal can be found at shop.paulpiazza.com.
* If you happen to visit Coastal Mississippi, stop by Ben's Boat Dock in Ocean Springs. I was there recently and brought home 5 pounds of jumbo shrimp for $6 per pound. They'll put it on ice for you — just make sure you bring a cooler so you can buy enough to stock your freezer back home. It's just a seven-hour drive to paradise along Coastal Mississippi. Check out Ben's Boat Dock on Facebook for more information.
Email Anne Braly at email@example.com.