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This seafood boil for two is a scaled-down, smaller version of a classic Low Country boil, and is made with shrimp, crab legs, potatoes, onions and corn. Serve along with homemade cocktail sauce and garlic butter!
For years, friends of ours held an annual weekend-long party, and it always began with a seafood boil.
They’d rent a building with a large, industrial-sized kitchen, and each year, the kitchen was filled with friends doing their own version of a Low Country boil.
As the food finished cooking, you’d see newspaper-lined tables fill with piles of shrimp, crab, potatoes and corn.
It was magical.
I’ll admit that, until very recently, I felt that seafood boils are meals you only eat with huge groups of friends. It’s an experience to share.
But big parties aren’t a thing right now, and when I found myself with both shrimp and crab legs in my freezer, I decided to make a new seafood boil memory.
And you know what? It was pretty fabulous.
This seafood boil for two is a scaled-down version of a classic Low Country boil.
Make it with shrimp and crab (or just shrimp or just crab!), potatoes, corn and onion, and serve it along with cocktail sauce and melted butter for a decadent meal at home.
Want more shellfish recipe ideas? Try crab nachos, crab fries, shrimp Fra Diavolo, blackened shrimp and grits, a crab omelette, kimchi shrimp soup and crab eggs Benedict.
What Kind of Shrimp Should I Use?
Use whatever shrimp you have on hand! I do recommend using raw shrimp, not precooked shrimp.
The shrimp in the photos are Alaska spot prawn.
Make sure to save the shrimp shells to make shrimp stock!
How to Crack the Crab Legs
The crab legs should be cooked in the shells and cracked as you eat. If you need help opening the crab legs, check out my tutorial on how to crack crab legs.
To speed things up, I recommend using a seafood cracker.
Make sure to save the crab shells to make seafood stock!
Can I Use All Shrimp or All Crab?
You sure can!
I don’t always have multiple types of seafood on hand either.
What’s the Best Seafood Boil Spice Mix to Use?
For a mild (but well seasoned!) seafood boil use Old Bay seasoning.
If you prefer a spicier seafood boil, use Zatarain’s Crawfish, Shrimp and Crab Boil seasoning packets.
What if Corn is Out of Season?
If you’re making this during late summer, use fresh corn.
Otherwise, use frozen corn on the cob. I like to buy the “mini” halved corn cobs.
I don’t recommend using canned corn.
How to Make a Seafood Boil
Start by adding water to a large pot.
If possible, use a large pot with a strainer insert. It will make cleanup a lot easier!
Add a quartered lemon, bay leaves, sea salt, peppercorns and your seasoning of choice. Bring the water to a rolling boil.
Add potatoes and boil five minutes.
Add onion and continue boiling for ten minutes.
Next, add the corn and boil five more minutes. Check to see if the potatoes are tender before moving onto the next step.
Finally, add the seafood.
Continue boiling for about three minutes, or until the shrimp is cooked through.
Finally, strain the seafood boil, discarding the liquid.
You can also discard the seasoning packet (if you used one), the bay leaves and the lemon quarters.
While the seafood boil is cooking, make the melted butter sauce and homemade cocktail sauce. And yes, if you prefer you can swap store-bought cocktail sauce.
Serve the food right away along with seafood crackers and lots of napkins!
Seafood Boil for Two
- 1 lemon, quartered
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
- ¼ cup Old Bay seasoning Or use 1 packet Zatarain's Crawfish, Shrimp, and Crab Boil (See Recipe Notes)
- 12 ounces small red new potatoes (~6 potatoes), between 1 and 1½ inches in diameter Optionally, use other varieties of small potatoes (petite, fingerling or yellow potatoes)
- ½ sweet or yellow onion, cut into wedges
- 2 ears of corn, shucked + halved Or use frozen corn on the cob (if frozen cobs are halved, use 4 halves)
- 4 ounces shrimp, shells removed + deveined, tails on or off as desired
- 4 ounces crab legs (still in shell) Alternatively, use all shrimp (double amount)
- ¼ cup ketchup
- 1 tablespoon horseradish
- ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ lemon, juiced
- ½ teaspoon yellow mustard
- ¼ cup butter (½ stick)
- 2 garlic cloves, diced
- ¼ teaspoon red chili flakes (optional, for heat)
- ½ lemon, juiced
- Add lemon, bay leaves, salt, peppercorns, and Old Bay (or seasoning packet) to a large pot of water. Bring it to a rolling boil over high heat.Add the potatoes and continue boiling for 5 minutes. Add the onions and continue boiling for about 10 more minutes. Add the corn and cook 5 more minutes, or until the potatoes are tender when pricked with a fork.Add the shrimp and crab legs to the pot and continue cooking about 3 minutes, or until the shrimp turns pink.
- Drain the ingredients through a colander, discarding the liquid. Discard the spice packet (if used), quartered lemon and bay leaves. Serve the seafood, potatoes, corn and onion on a platter or over newspaper, along with cocktail sauce and butter (recipes follow).Serve with crab crackers (if desired) and plenty of napkins!
- Stir all cocktail ingredients together.Taste and adjust the seasoning if desired (more ketchup for a sweeter sauce, more horseradish for extra heat).
- Melt butter over medium-low heat.Add garlic and chili flakes (if using), and heat until the garlic begins to sizzle (1-2 minutes). Turn off the heat and stir in the lemon juice.Cover and keep warm until ready to use.
- 1 12-ounce bottle of lager beer (not gluten-free unless specifically indicated)
- 1 fennel bulb, diced
- diced hot chili peppers (medium heat level, such as serrano or jalapeño)
- handful of garden herbs (such as thyme or oregano)
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