Low Country Boil | A Confession and an Update

by Melissa on May 31, 2011

In October 2010, I made the decision to stick to a vegetarian diet. The reasons were two fold: the horrid situations at factory farms and I just felt healthier when I was on a vegetarian diet.

However in the recent months I have started to eat seafood again. Although having seafood is still a relatively rare occasion, I do try to keep in mind exactly what I am cooking and consuming. Ever since I started volunteering at the Georgia Aquarium, and took their Seafood Savvy class, I have been much more aware of what seafood I am cooking and ordering at restaurants.

“Increased demand for popular seafood is depleting global fish stocks and harming the health of our oceans.”

When we went to purchase the shrimp for this low country boil, I made sure to select shrimp that were fished from US boats. This was important because shrimp are fished by bottom trawling, which is fishing by dragging a fishing net behind a boat along the bottom of the ocean. The cons of this type of fishing is that there is a lot of habitat destruction and a lot of by-catch. Many times this by-catch includes sea turtles. Sea turtles are very dear to me, I think they are magnificent creatures and I love getting to see them when I go scuba diving.

Luckily, all US boats that fish by trawling are required to use TEDs (Turtle Exclusion Device) and BRDs (By-catch Reduction Devices).  In fact, the state of Georgia led the nation in using BRDs and TEDs.

A fun tip: If you do get a chance to visit the Georgia Aquarium, make sure to ask a volunteer or staff member to show you where the Turtle Exclusion Device is. There is one hanging from the ceiling in the Georgia Explorer exhibit, it’s pretty neat to see in person.

Lowcountry boils are prominent throughout Georgia and South Carolina, as well as Alabama – as I have discovered while tailgating before college football games. A lowcountry boil is very similar to Louisana’s crawfish boil, however shrimp is used instead of crawfish and the boil is cooked with a relatively mild seasoning compared to Louisana’s concoction of cayenne pepper and hot sauce.

The orgins of this lowcountry boil come from the Gullah people of the islands along the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina. When Africans in the slave trade would bring African, French and Spanish cooking influences. The lowcountry boil was born through the need to quickly and easily create meals for large groups of people.

Ingredients (makes 4 servings): Inspired by Paula Deen’s recipe.
– Crab/Shrimp boil seasoning, 2 tbsp per quart of water
– 5 new potatoes
– 4 ears of yellow or white corn
– 1 pound of shrimp, unpeeled
– Optional: Juice from one lemon

Let’s Cook!
Fill a large pot with enough water to cover all of the ingredients, and bring to a boil. Add the crab boil seasoning seasoning. While cooking the rest of the ingredients, adjust the crab boil to suit your taste. Add the potatoes and cook on medium heat for 20 minutes. Add corn and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Add the lemon juice. Add shrimp and cook for 3 minutes. Drain and serve. Enjoy!

Photo credit: Thank you to Jacob of Esther JuLee Photography for the fun instagram photo of me and Esther fighting the balmy Georgia heat to get the perfect food photo before we dig in. Yes, “patience is key when eating with professional photographers.”

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Averie (LoveVeggiesandYoga) May 31, 2011 at 12:20 pm

Thanks for sharing your recipe, and your story, Melissa. To each her own. I grew up pretty much vegetarian, then was vegan, and am now back to being vegetarian b/c cooking with real butter is just more fun than butter substitutes :) We all have to do what’s right for us.

I love that you’re Mindful and Aware of what you’re doing…so important!


2 Melissa Crane May 31, 2011 at 3:37 pm

Thanks Averie! I really enjoyed writing this post because I do think that it’s important to be mindful and aware of what you’re eating, both for your health and for the environment.


3 Paul Crane May 31, 2011 at 9:00 pm

Nice article, mentioning the history and interesting facts. Keep it up!


4 May 31, 2011 at 11:36 pm

thanks for cooking!! :) now i am going to have to intensify my workouts. insanity, here i come!


5 Robin June 1, 2011 at 10:29 am

Mmmm… just had a low country boil for our friends and family over the holiday weekend. We had smoked sausage in ours, too. It was a hit! And we have leftovers, so we have been eating like Kings for 3 days!!
Glad to see someone else post the lcb, it’s so yummy!


6 Charissa June 1, 2011 at 2:07 pm

I think you need to come over and make me lunch! Gaaah, this looks absolutely divine! Food of angels ,lol!


7 Mike June 2, 2011 at 3:43 pm

Simple and delicious-looking! Perfect for summer!


8 Melissa Crane June 3, 2011 at 9:38 am

Esther – you go girl! I’m thinking about adding some Insanity back into my workouts too.

Robin – yup, the original recipe called for sausage, but since I don’t eat red meat I left that part out :)

Charissa – hehe, thanks!

Mike – Thanks! Love the simplicity of this dish.


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