Coastal Florida Seafood Boil And Tablescape!
Today is the first day of Spring and a time of the year full of rebirth and new growth. I have always loved Spring and living in SW Florida our coastal climate for me is like a delicious frosting on a perfectly made cake.
Living on the coast also means lots of fresh seafood, which has always been a favorite of mine….and it is the season of the stone crab which means fishermen are checking traps and bringing in all kinds of fresh seafood to our markets and restaurants.
Shrimp and Lobster tails are my favorite….though the stone crab is definitely right up at the top of the list.
Unfortunately, this is also “Season”….simply put, a time when all the Northerners escape their cold and snow and come to Florida for sunny skies and warm sandy beaches.
Don’t get me wrong…this is very good for our economy but it is not so good when one wants to go out to dinner and enjoy a fresh catch of seafood and it is standing room only.
Soooooo what does one do?
We make our own.
Today, I am sharing my seafood tablescape and of course lots of yummy seafood!
I particularly like doing a low country boil which I became fascinated with when watching the movie “Steel Magnolias”...you remember the part at the Chinquapin Parish
Christmas Festival in Louisiana where Truvy and Annelle are working a food booth, scooping up large helpings of Low Country Boil?
And if you remember that part, you will also remember Annelle saying “You really should try one – we’ve already pulled their little heads off and everything!”
Of course she was referring to all the crawfish being served in the low country boil of corn on the cob, potatoes, onions and andouille sausage.
Me, personally…I don’t care for crawfish. Memories of finding them in creek beds and playing with them as a child on the farm.
However…I do love making a low country boil using shrimp and lobster and stone crab. So I am attaching a recipe that you can adjust to your liking, using whatever seafood you prefer. Add or remove seafood….your choice.
My tablescape starts with a crab/lobster trap centerpiece surrounded by sea shells, a pelican and lantern.
The place mats are burlap and the white chippy chargers are off white.
The plates show detailed instructions on how to eat a lobster.
Also at the place setting are the tools needed, a wooden mallet for cracking shells and if that doesn’t work, lobster crackers and a pick to “dig” out the fleshy parts.
The flatware feature sail boats and rope which tie into the red and white lifesaver napkin rings.
The white napkins have lobster and crab images.
The water glasses are mason jars as is the salt and pepper shakers.
I placed a red lantern on one end of the table…
and a red and white striped pitcher with white flowers on the other end. There is also a pelican sitting on a pylon near fishnet and shells.
One can’t have seafood without clarified butter and these little pourable pots provide this yummy part of the meal.
Many of these shells, the Captain and I have collected from the beaches of Southwest Florida.
I really think the lobster/crab trap represents the fishing industry and yes, that is a resin crab climbing up the fish net.
One must have the utensils as well as one’s fingers. 🙂
Chances are you might want to add a “bib” of some sort to keep your clothes just a little less messy.
I have to tell you that another option of preparing the seafood is to put it all on a flat cookie sheet and into the oven, making this one of the simplest meals to make.
- Heat oven to 400°F. Line half sheet baking pan (18x13x1-inch) with parchment paper.
- Place potatoes around edge of pan. Dot with 2 tablespoons butter with canola oil; season with 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning. Bake 10 minutes.
- Place corn and kielbasa onto sheet pan; season with 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning. Dot corn with 1 tablespoon butter with canola oil. Return to oven, bake 10 minutes.
- Push potatoes, corn and kielbasa to edges of pan. Add shrimp and lemons to middle of pan. Dot with remaining 2 tablespoons butter with canola oil; sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning. Bake 12-13 minutes or until shrimp turn pink. Garnish with parsley. Serve immediately.
Another option is using a baking bag like for turkey….so many ways to make this one pot meal and you really can’t go wrong.
No serving dish needed…spread out a newspaper and dump all the seafood and veggies right on top.
This tablescape is very casual as this is a casual, eat with your hands kind of meal. Our Mothers would approve of this type of eating with one’s hands.
The stand-by recipe of boiling in a pot is below and so easy to make…add a garden salad and garlic bread to sop up the juices and you are enjoying a mess of good food. So whether you boil or bake…this is one delicious seafood meal.
Do you have a favorite seafood?
I love to read your comments….
- 2 ouncesof Zatarain's seafood boil or you can use Old Bay to taste
- 3 pounds small red potatoes
- 1 1/2 medium sweet onions, such as Vidalia, peeled
- 1 1/4 pounds smoked sausage, cut into pieces or you can use links
- Four ears of corn, cut in half
- 1 1/2 pounds raw medium shrimp, peel on
- Lobster tails or whole lobster
- Fill a 2 1/2- to 3-gallon stockpot half full with water and bring to a boil. Add the seasoning and potatoes to the pot. Allow the water to return to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Add the onions and sausage. Bring the water back to a boil and cook for 15 minutes. Add the corn, bring the water back to a boil and cook for 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are done. Remove veggies and add the lobster tails and boil for 5 minutes. Add the shrimp, and cook until the shrimp turn pink, about 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon or drain in a large colander and serve on a large platter or on newspaper.
- You can also bake in the oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes rather than boiling on top of the stove. Just layer everything on a cookie sheet, no water needed.