Notes from the Island Fishmonger

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There is something about the combination of shellfish, potatoes, corn-on-the-cob and smoked sausage all steamed together in one big stockpot that makes this one of the tastiest and easiest dinners on the planet to make. Some people use the same concept as putting all of the kids in the pool by putting all of your delicious shellfish and ingredients in a pot of boiling water all at the same time. True seafood cooks know that there is an actual science to this masterpiece.

First you must realize that all foods have different cooking times. You can’t throw everything into a pot at the same time and expect everything to be cooked to perfection. For instance, you would never expect a shrimp to cook as long as a potato unless you want shrimp jerky!

Of course there is no exact science to seasoning as we all have different taste buds but here are some basic steps to cooking the perfect seafood steam pot at home.  I always start by bringing my chicken stock with bay leaves to a boil (you can also use veggie stock, beer or just water). I add my shrimp or crab boil seasoning to the stock. I also like to cut a lemon in half and add both sides of the lemon to the stock. Then you should cook in layers with the ingredients that take the longest to cook going in first. I start with the potatoes and cook them for about 8 minutes. Then I add the corn for another 2 minutes. After that I add Crab Legs or Lobster and Sausage and cook them for 3 minutes. The next items I add are the shrimp and clams and I cook those until the clams open which will take approximately 2 minutes. Once the clams open up, the final step is to add the mussels and cook them until the mussels open which again will only take approximately 2 minutes at the most. I save some of that stock juice and then pour your meal into a strainer and serve with melted butter, lemons, cocktail sauce and enjoy!! Halfway through the meal I pour some of the saved stock juice over the meal just to refresh it.

It sounds more complicated than it is…simply cook in layers, strain and serve. Clean up can even be easy by serving all of the food on an outside table covered with newspaper. Peel, crack and shuck all your goodies on the newspaper and when you’re done simply roll up the newspaper and discard into the trash bin.

It’s truly easy peasy, fun, delicious and for many it’s a family gathering tradition.

Seafood steam pots are on the Big Water Fish Market menu or you can even order a precooked or raw steam pot to carry out. Pictured is a BWFM Spiny Lobster steam pot that comes with ingredients, instructions and even the pot. If the raw product looks tempting, wait until you see the finished product!

Live well…..Eat Fish

Scott Dolan
Big Water Fish Market
6641 Midnight Pass Road
Siesta Key, FL 34242


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