St. Helena Island, near Hilton Head, used to have a town center called Frogmore, named after an ancestral English country estate. It consisted of four buildings, including the post office; new residents have changed the official name to St. Helena. In the early twentieth century, Frogmore was the site of booming caviar and diamondback terrapin businesses. The “stew” is named after the old Sea Island settlement.

This Lowcountry seafood boil is usually served on paper plates around newspaper-covered picnic tables outdoors, with plenty of ice-cold beer. Partially cleaned but uncooked crab is sometimes added to the pot at the same time as the corn (to clean crabs live). The recipe may be adjusted for more or fewer people by allowing ½ pound of shrimp per person, ¼ pound of sausage per person, 1½ ears of corn per person, and 2 tablespoons of “boil” per gallon of water.

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Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons commercially prepared shrimp boil such as Old Bay Seasoning plus 3 tablespoons salt or 3 tablespoons homemade boil
  • gallons water
  • 2 pounds hot smoked link sausage, cut into 2-inch pieces (see Note)
  • 12 ears freshly shucked corn, broken into 3- to 4-inch pieces
  • 4 pounds shrimp

Method

In a large stockpot, add the seasonings to the water and bring to a boil. Add the sausage and boil, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Add the corn and count 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and count 3 minutes. (Don’t wait for the liquid to return to a boil before timing the corn and shrimp.) Drain immediately and serve.

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