Things I didn't grow up with: crab boils, lobster boils, Frogmore steams, Low Country boils, etc. Which is probably why I got so darn excited about boiling up one of my own, that I decided to dump everything I could get my hands on into it. Idk if it's lowbrow or not, but out of all the boils I researched, the good old fashioned Old Bay version sounded best and I'm absolutely doing one of those next. However, since I'm a boil newbie, I kinda thought I'd jazz it up from the get-go and craft a boil just for me. I mean why not right? And I kinda get the feeling that you can't really go wrong, no matter what route you take. I mean, seafood + butter + lemons + usually beer sounds like it'll equal magic every single time.
When I first tried my hand at this dish, I took the party to my friend Jackie's house, where I freaked out over how great the light was and after seeing her gorgeous brown table, got super inspired to vibe out a shot Two Red Bowls style. I mean, can anyone really see a table like that without thinking of Cynthia (I can't)!? I also learned about all sorts of new mom things from Jackie and her friend Alison (they're both new moms) and left deeply appreciating the amount of sleep I get. I went home and gave my furbaby, Vienna, a big hug and thanked her for sleeping through the night. And then I honestly started to question whether or not sleepiness is contagious. Like can get it through osmosis, deep sympathizing, or even close proximity to others suffering? I'll have to google it later 'cuz I can't even begin to tell you how tired I felt that night. You mamas are my heroes. HEROES.
Anywho, let's talk boil! The first time I tried my hand at this recipe, I definitely underestimated how diluted everything gets once you add a few quarts of water (duh). So the second time around, flavor components were doubled. After all, if you're adding miso and gochujang, you def want to taste both of 'em, right? Learn from my mistake and don't skimp on the saucy stuff. You want to pack as much flavor into the boiling liquid as possible to maximize the flavor punch on all that good seafood (and corn, potatoes, and sausage, which aren't to be forgotten). Plus, you'll be reserving some of that broth for later, so make sure it tastes the way you want it to! However, if you get a little nervous about the spice level, feel free to reduce the gochujang. You can always add some to your dipping sauce, aka buttery miso goodness, at the end if you need to.
Trust me when I say, this is a fun and easy dish to prepare. That being said, let me pass on a few dos and dont's. DO use a large dutch oven, like this gorgeous new Williams-Sonoma oval cast-iron dutch oven. It's got a capacity of 6 3/4 quarts and that's perfect for a boil! DON'T walk away when you're boiling! It's all about timing here, so watch that timer and make sure you're being precise. Last thing you want is a bunch of overcooked shrimpies. DO invite a bunch of friends. Pretty sure boils were made to be shared with lots of people (yes, I made that up, but yes, I think that makes sense). DO bust out the newspapers, paper bags, etc. It gets messy fast and you'll be grateful for all that protection later. DON'T stress out on this one. It's a fun meal to make and it's so much fun to eat. Any excuse to eat with your hands right? And that's it, time to boil. :D
- 3 qt. water (12 c.)
- 1 can/bottle (12 oz.) beer
- 1/2 c. + 1 tablespoon miso paste, divided
- 4 Tbsp. gochujang
- 2 heads of garlic, tops chopped off
- 2 inch segment fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
- 1 bunch green onions, cut in thirds, crosswise
- 2 sweet onions, quartered
- 1 handful of cilantro
- ½ lb baby potatoes
- 1 pound smoked sausage cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 ½ pounds manila clams
- 2 4 oz. lobster tails
- 1 ½ pounds unpeeled jumbo shrimp (21 to 25 count)
- 6 - 8 ears fresh corn shucked and quartered crosswise
- 4 oz. clarified butter
- Lemon wedges, for serving
- Large dutch oven like this one
- Kitchen shears or paring knife
- Small saucepan
- Bring water, beer, miso, gochujang, garlic, ginger, green onions, sweet onions, and cilantro to boil in large dutch oven on high heat, then simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.
- While simmering, prepare all the seafood. Devein the shrimp by cutting along the shell with sharp kitchen shears or a paring knife above the vein line and removing the vein. Tie up the clams loosely with cheese cloth, leaving enough room for the clams to open while boiling.
- Next, in a small saucepan, melt the clarified butter on medium-low heat. When melted, add a tablespoon or two of melted butter to the reserved miso in a small bowl, whisk together, then add back to the butter and whisk to combine thoroughly. Adjust heat to low.
- After the broth has simmered for 20 to 30 minutes, remove the onions to make room for all the seafood. Bring it back to boil and add the baby potatoes and sausage. You'll want to boil them for 10 minutes in total.
- After 3 minutes, add the clams and cook those for 7 minutes.
- After 2 minutes, add the lobster tails and cook for 3-5 minutes or until flesh is opaque.
- After 1 minute, stir in the shrimp and cook for 4 minutes or just until shrimp turn pink.
- After 1 minute, add the corn and cook for 3 minutes.
- Reserve a quart of cooking liquid and pour of the rest. You can pour the contents of the pot out onto a serving platter or bowl, or newspaper-lined table.
- Serve with reserved broth, miso-butter sauce, and lemons. Enjoy!
A huge thanks to Williams-Sonoma for partnering with me on this post. I'm so excited to share their new cast-iron line with you. It's a real beauty and I'm officially obsessed!