There I was in New Orleans, minding my own business, walking down the street in the Marigny district, when I saw a man heave two huge laundry-like baskets full of shrimp onto the street. Of course, said my friend Megan, It’s the Friday Street Shrimp Boil.
I met Pete & the boys on the corner of Royal & Kerec in front of the Royal Inn. They do a “frahday shrimp boyl. Do it ever’ frahday.”
They made me eat a whole clove of garlic and sample spicy headcheese (see above photo) before they let me join them behind the line of generators, on the street. It’s nothing short of bad ass to see three men set up and make enough shrimp for 50 people, give it away, break down the equipment and hose off the street in under four hours.
In no terms was I infringing on them, they were so happy to tell their story. This was a total PARTY and neighbors from up and down the street came out to the corner with camping chairs and beers to watch and sample the festivities.
In fact, when I saw them a week later in the same place doing the same thing. They waved me over so I could inspect that weeks haul of shrimp.
One of the men, a Cajun that I think (I’d had four beers at this point) said his name was Dave, told me he used to be a shrimper until Katrina. His boat was wiped out and he hasn’t been able to replace it. He’s doing office work now. I could tell the job was killing his beautiful outdoorsmen spirit. The wistfulness in his voice and the sad cloud that descended upon his face was heartbreaking. But only for the briefest of seconds. Then in true cajun form, he busted open a few beers and started speaking in melodically upbeat tones about the magic of the Gulf and the resilience of the Gulf.
“These here are white shrimp, mimi. They carry they babies above they tails. When this season over, they gonna go into the Gulf. That’ll be the real testament for that oil. If they don’t come back, next year, they gone. The oil is more than we dreamed, then. We don’t know what all is going on out theah. But these here are 12-16’s of white shrimp. The number refers to the number of’em in a pound.I never eat less than a twelve.” -Cajun Dave
“This a real good community. This here’s a neighborhood boyle.” – Pete
“Who dat for?
Fer dah peaux-peaux right there.”
A policeman stopped his squad car, in the middle of the street for a to go container of potatoes, onions, shrimp and corn.
For more information about the BP Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico, click here
Boiled Shrimp a la Royal
For easy cleanup, line your table with newspaper so everyone can have fun peeling and eating the shrimp. Serve with corn on the cob and boiled potatoes.
20 quarts water
Ladies clean nylon stuffed with Shrimp Boil Spices*
6 teaspoons ZATARAIN’S® Concentrated Shrimp and Crab Boil
3 tablespoons salt
6 lemons halved
4 pounds large shrimp with shells on
10-12 small red potatoes
10 ears corn on the cub, cleaned and halved
4 onions, peeled & cut into wedges
4 entire bundles of garlic, unpeeled, thrown into the pot
10-12 stalks of celery, cut in half
5-8 carrots, cut into thick thirds
1 lb of asparagus, trimmed
1. Bring water and salt to boil in large saucepot.
2. Stir in shrimp and Crab Boil, Nylon Bag Seasonings and Lemons. Return to boil; cover.
3. Add in Potatoes, Garlic and Onions let cook for 8-10 minutes.
4. Add Corn. Continue cooking additional 4-6 minutes.
5. Add shrimp. Cook 2 minutes or until shrimp turn pink. Remove from heat. Let stand 2 minutes. Drain well.
You may reserve liquid to use as seafood stock for soups, gumbo or dirty rice.
Serve with crusty baguette, lemon wedges and plenty of napkins.
*Ingredients Shrimp Boil Bag:
* 1/4 cup pickling spices
* 1/4 cup sea salt
* 2 Tablespoons mustard seeds
* 2 Tablespoons whole black peppercorns
* 2 Tablespoons hot red pepper flakes
* 1 Tablespoon celery seeds
* 1 Tablespoon minced dried chives
* 2 teaspoons ground ginger
* 2 teaspoons dried oregano
* 5 bay leaves
Cut the leg off a pair of nylons, stuff in your spices and tie the leg off. Trim excess material.