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Thursday, Apr 26, 2018
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Kessel : I’ve got seafood on my mind

I love seafood, nearly all of it. So one of my favorite annual events in South Shore is the Ruskin Seafood Festival at E.G. Simmons Park.

It’s a shrine to everything seafood: shrimp, crabs, oysters, fish, crawfish, fried, boiled, stuffed – and whatever else you can think of.

I managed a sneak peek at this year’s menu, and my mouth is watering already!

While many of the festival’s traditional vendors are returning, four new food vendors will make their debut this year, including Taste of Boston, Laughing Crab, Gypsy Fish and Curbing Your Appetite.

These new kids on the block will offer everything from ceviche, calamari sofrito and whole belly clams to lobster rolls, blackened wild salmon and fish tacos.

For those who are dragged along by the family but don’t like seafood, there are plenty of classic vendors as well, offering hot dogs, funnel cakes and more traditional fare, like hot dogs, funnel cakes, roasted corn and more.

Beer, wine and homemade sangria will wet adult whistles, and there will be plenty of fresh-squeezed lemonade for the entire family.

The ever-popular Mullet Shack will return, offering seafarers smoked mullet and, for the first time, catfish nuggets.

One of my personal favorites is clam chowder by Tony’s Seafood Restaurant in Cedar Key, a three-time winner of the national Great Chowder Cook-off held annually in Rhode Island. I always take home the popular to-go quart – it’s that good.

Be sure to save room for dessert! How about strawberry shortcake, pumpkin cheesecake, homemade ice cream and Bear Cakes – hopefully with some of his hot-and-sweet pineapple habanero pound cake. They all sound amazing, which may spell trouble for my diet.

In May when the Lee Bros. were in town they made this week’s recipe for Frogmore Soup. It’s actually quite simple. Borrowing flavors from the traditional low-country Frogmore stew ingredients of shrimp, corn and sausage, I thought it would be perfect for this week’s column.

See you at the Ruskin Seafood Festival this weekend!

Lynn Kessel is a freelance food columnist and blogger. For more of her recipes, visit southshore.tbo.com and enter the search words Lynn Kessel or look for her blog at www.lynnkessel.blogspot.com.


3/4 pound medium shell-on shrimp

1 small bay leaf

Kosher salt

1 dash cayenne pepper or paprika

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 ounces smoked pork sausage, Cajun andouille, or kielbasa, minced

1 cup minced onion

1/4 cup minced celery, leaves reserved for garnish

1 ear sweet corn

1/2 cup dry white wine

4 ounces blue crab meat, picked clean of shell fragments

1/2 cup heavy cream

Freshly ground black pepper

Peel and de-vein the shrimp, reserving the shells in a small saucepan. Chop each shrimp crosswise into 3 or 4 pieces and reserve. To the saucepan with the shrimp shells add 2 cups of water, bay leaf, teaspoon salt and the paprika, and bring to a simmer over high heat. Simmer on medium-low heat until reduced by half, about 20 minutes. Strain the broth and discard the shells.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, add sausage and gently cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until the sausage has visibly shrunk, about 5 minutes. Tip the pan and with a slotted spoon, transfer all but 1 to 2 tablespoons of the sausage to a small bowl and reserve for garnish.

Add the onion and celery and teaspoon of salt to the pan, and cook over low heat until soft and translucent.

Meanwhile, cut the kernels from the corn cob. You should have about 2/3 cup. Scrape the cob with the back of a spoon and add the juice to the pan along with the corn kernels. Cook for 4 minutes, then turn the heat to medium and add 1 cups of the shrimp broth, 1 cups of water and the white wine, then simmer for five minutes. Season the soup to taste with salt.

Let the soup cool for about 10 minutes, and then process it carefully, in batches if necessary, in a food processor until mostly smooth. Return the soup to the saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Add the crab and shrimp and simmer until the shrimp are firm and just cooked through, about two minutes.

Stir in the cream, season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately. Garnish with a pinch or two of reserved sausage bits and some torn celery leaves.

Source: “The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen,” by Matt Lee & Ted Lee

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