finalcrabboil

It’s summertime and the living is easy…

…at least that’s what Mimi of Manger says, so we’re  just going to go vicariously with it.

For the first time in a few years, we won’t be traveling stateside this summer. So, I’ve decided to bring a bit of Americana to the farm.

We’ve already gone all State Fair and made corn dogs; funnel cakes are on deck, and a few weeks ago we hosted a traditional American southern-style crab boil.

It is always surprising how little seafood you typically find on Irish menus. (with the exception of that glorious & ever so popular Irish seafood chowder, of course.) Crab and lobster are a fraction of the cost here, and I make sure that we take FULL advantage of this flavorful fact in our kitchen.

The crab and lobster that we source from our local fishmonger comes from nearby Kerry or Clare; two gorgeous Atlantic counties which border us. The Brown Kerry crab with its succulent claw meat and Clare’s luscious lobster tails both equate absolute divinity in my book.

Here is my basic recipe for a classic summer crab boil as was also recently {and very proudly} featured in the Sunday Times Magazine. A crab boil is more a method than a recipe; the fun of it is in the preparation and casual eating ritual which is what makes it especially delicious to me!

County Kerry Crab Boil

INGREDIENTS
New potatoes (2 or 3 per person depending on their size, cut in half-inch slices or whole if small enough)
Salt to taste
Crab boil seasoning (I recommend Zatarain’s or DIY a large sachet filled with mustard seeds, coriander seed, cayenne pepper, bay leaves, dill seed and allspice)
Live brown Kerry crabs (3 or 4 small crabs per person or 1-2 large)
Sweet corn (an ear per person, cut in halves)
Smoked spicy sausage (1-2 per person)
Plenty of melted butter for dipping
Newspapers or brown paper for covering your table
Little forks, claw crackers or hammers to get at the crab meat

METHOD
1. Put the potatoes in an oversized pot; they should cover the bottom.
2. Cover them with water by about two inches.
3. Add crab boil seasonings and a few generous pinches of sea salt.
4. Char or sear sausages to seal in flavour.
5. Place crabs, corn, and sausages in the pot and cover.
6. Put the pot over high heat. When the water reaches a rolling boil; reduce the heat
to medium high. Cook for another 12 to 18 minutes until the crabs are cooked
through.
7. Hold the lid of the pot ajar and dump the water, keeping the food in the pot.
8. Pour the pot onto the center of a table covered with paper.
9. Make sure plenty of melted butter is available and a couple bottles of chilled
pinot blanc, rosé wine, sangria or crisp cold cider.
10. FEAST!

Slan Abhaile,

Imen

Photo and styling by Imen McDonnell 2013

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11 Responses to “County Kerry Crab Boil”

  1. canalcook says:

    This looks gorgeous. I remember seeing crabs scuttling on the beach in West Cork when I was on holidays as a child. I was terrified of them. Now I think I’d be delighted to see them if I could catch them..

  2. Krista says:

    What a marvelous thing to do in the summer! 🙂 We’re still several months away, but I will see what I can do to source crab in the meantime. 🙂 Yum!!

  3. this looks incredible! wow, you go girl!
    xx

  4. Anon says:

    Side note: “summertime and the living is easy” is from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess.

  5. Elizabeth says:

    Imen, what a great way to bring a little bit of America to Ireland…it looks fantastic! Congrats on the Sunday Times Mag feature, too…you must be thrilled. : )

  6. Niamh says:

    Delicious! Yes, we don’t eat much seafood in Ireland, personally I think that is because we are an island of farmers. Some parts of Ireland like the west do eat more though.

    • imen says:

      Tis true, an island of farmers indeed. And this farm loves seafood =) I agree about the West, very true. I think I just expected to see crab + lobster on every menu when I first moved here..in fairness, there are more options than there were 7 years ago. Thanks for commenting Niamh. xx

  7. That looks so incredible! I love this for a summer dinner party!

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