~By The SL Parade’s Own The Captain~
Contrary to popular belief, Low Country cooking has nothing to do with frogs!
While its true that one of the low country’s most popular dishes is called Frogmore Stew, it can also be called the Low Country Boil.
Yet, why is this savory dish referred to as Frogmore Stew, let alone Low Country Boil? Well, the Frogmore name refers to an area in Beauford, South Carolina. For those that choose to refer to this dish as Low Country Boil, this term also refers to the location where this dish is commonly made.
Dwelving further, a seafood company also claims a role in the creation of this fabulous dish. In fact, Richard Gay of The Gay Seafood Company claims to have invented Frogmore Stew…all while an acting member of the United States National Guard in Beaufort during the 1960’s. Yet, whether Richard Gay invented the Low Country Boil or if its creation is just a local Beaufort thing is unsure. However, it is fair to say that he certainly popularized it by serving it to his fellow National Guardsmen.
All claims by Richard Gay of The Gay Seafood Company aside, this dish is commonly served during oyster roasts, and calls for the following ingredients:
- corn ,
- Andouille or kielbasa sausage and
- a seafood seasoning (like Old Bay)
To get a more detailed description of how to make Frogmore Boil, please click on this link: Frogmore Boil.
Besides featuring a savory batch of Low Country Boil, oyster roasts in the low country are considered a social event. While you can make just enough of this succulent dish, there are always more than one way to create a “roast!” For instance, I actually roast my oysters on an enclosed gas grill, and I make sure it is enclosed because the feast could literally explode!
I also have a smoker box that I fill with wood chips; then, I wait until I build up a lot of smoke before I put the oysters on. Yet, in almost all methods used, it only takes 10 minutes before the oysters will actually pop open. Thus, you can use an open grill or…at your option…you can simply cover the oysters with a wet towel. This steams them a bit and prevents exploding ones from causing any harm.
The traditional way of roasting is to build a fire, then wait until you can see hot embers present. Then, you can place a metal sheet that is usually propped up with bricks over it. Then, you can spread the oysters in a single layer and cover them with wet burlap. This, in turn, emulates a way similar to how a microwave would cook them! Either way, you can place them on a plate and cover them well with wet paper towels. I usually start doing this after they have been on the grill for at least 4 minutes, then, once I cover them up, I continue to check if the oysters are open…and continue to check at least a few minutes at a time.
You also can heat up a shallow pan until it is very, very hot in an oven, then take it out of the oven, add the oysters, then cover them up with a wet towel or with burlap.
She-Crab Soup: Another Low Country Cooking Gem!
She-crab soup is a rich and creamy crab soup. What makes it different is that she-crabs are used. According to Wikipedia, “She-crab soup is a rich soup, similar to bisque, made of milk or heavy cream, crab or fish stock, Atlantic blue crab meat, and (traditionally) crab roe, and a small amount of dry sherry added as it is plated. It may be thickened either by heat reduction or with a purée of boiled rice; it may also include such seasonings as mace and shallots or onions (Wikipedia.org).
Though Wikipedia makes mention of this dish being made with crab roe, please be aware that crab roe was an ingredient used in the traditional version of this fabulous dish; however, crab roe is not used as much because we are making efforts to preserve the crab population. However, if you just so happen to catch your own she-crabs, please feel free to use them to create crab roe.
In terms of its origins, Charleston, South Carolina is famous for this succulent dish. To learn more about how to make She-Crab Soup, please take a look at this link: She-Crab Soup.
Boiled Peanuts Equals Mmm Mmm Good!
Boiled peanuts are now considered a southern snack food. In fact, if you drive down any of the US highways like the famous coastal US 17, you will see signs that advertise boiled peanuts! These signs are everywhere, and can be seen from food stores to gas stations….they can be seen just about anyplace!
But what are boiled peanuts? They are heavily salted green peanuts that have been boiled in there shells for hours (in fact, having them boil for 24 hours is not an uncommon practice). Because of the boiling technique used, the boiled peanuts may have a bit of a snap or can even be mushy.
The practice of boiling peanuts seem to have originated during the Civil War. Specifically, peanuts were a staple of the southern army. In the midst of the Civil War, someone came up with the idea of boiling peanuts in very salty water. The salt in the water, in turn, acts as a way to preserve these peanuts for a few days. I imagine that the soften peanuts were easy to eat…especially for those with bad teeth!
While most prefer to commonly boil peanuts in the shell, I have seen (and eaten) them boiled outside of their shell, too. To learn more about this dish, I encourage you to follow this link: Check out Boiled Peanuts History here.
Shrimp and Grits: Another Low Country Staple!
Shrimp and Grits are unusual in more than one way. Grits are dry ground corn that is boiled and served up like oatmeal, often with the same kinds toppings commonly served during breakfast. Yet, regardless of how you like to eat your grits, though; grits can either come in a yellow color similar to corn, or come in a treated-based corn color called hominy. Hominy, in and of itself, has been around for hundred of years.
However, the idea of adding shrimp is unusual, but what’s even more unusual is that Shrimp and Grits tend to be served for not only breakfast, but for dinner too!
In addition to being served either for breakfast or dinner, sometimes grits are served with cheese either atop of it, or mixed into, cooked grits. Many also add a plethora of other ingredients to their Shrimp and Grits; things like bacon, andouille sausage ,red, green, and yellow bell pepper, not to mention mushrooms and onion!
To learn more about cooking Shrimp and Grits, please click on this link: Shrimp and Grits .
Fried Green Tomatoes: It Is Not Just A Book Or A Movie
Fried green tomatoes are just what you think. Sliced green tomatoes breaded and fried! Served with some kind of sauce either on top or on the side for dipping . One cute thing restaurants are doing is making BLTs with them! Fried Green Tomatoes gained wide spread recognition with the book and movie “Fried Green Tomatoes.” Yet, before you read the book or watch the movie, I strongly suggest you try them for yourself!
To learn more about how to cook fried green tomatoes, please click on the following link: Fried Green Tomatoes .
She-Crab Soup, as featured in http://www.food.com (http://www.food.com/recipe/the-very-best-she-crab-soup-ever-427516)
Boiled Peanut History (http://whatscookingamerica.net/History/BoiledPeanutsHistory.htm)
Shrimp and Grits, Bobby Flay (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/shrimp-and-grits-recipe.html)
Best Fried Green Tomatoes Recipe, as featured in allrecipes.com (http://allrecipes.com/recipe/16760/best-fried-green-tomatoes/)
She-Crab Soup, as described by Wikipedia.org. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/She-crab_soup)