Indian summers and spicy shrimp.

I meant to show you this recipe before Labor Day but life, as it so frequently does, got in the way.  I went out with friends over the long weekend and got a little lot too hungover to write the post on Monday.

Then, since I work in public education, my summer was over and I went back to school on September 3rd.  The first couple of days were a whirlwind of getting things in order and seeing how much the kids have grown over the summer (some of them seem to be freakishly taller than they were last June) and I never got to post about the spicy, Creole shrimp boil that we had to honor my last weekend of Summer.

But this week, here in New Jersey, has been hotter than the entire month of August and making this summery dinner is still totally appropriate.  It’s the perfect dinner to eat outside with tons of napkins and a cold beer—a great way to languidly soak in every last bit of this hot Indian summer.

If you’ve never made spiced shrimp before, you may be surprised by how much spice goes into the pot—it’s a lot.  But don’t worry, not everything gets absorbed into the shrimp, most is left on the shells once you peel it.  The potatoes however, will be bursting with spiciness (or, to be frank, flaming hot).  If you don’t want them so spiced, you could cook the potatoes first and then add them to the pot later, but I thought they were pretty amazing, especially once they were slathered in the sweet-sour, creamy horseradish sauce.

Enjoy the last few days of this hot weather—and I hope you can stay dry if you’re on the east coast!

Shrimp Boil with Spicy Horseradish Sauce

makes one big pot//from Gourmet, August 2008

  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • 5 tablespoons Creole or Cajun seasoning
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons cayenne, divided
  • 2 Turkish bay leaves or 1 California
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 8 small boiling potatoes (about 2 inches)
  • 4 ears of corn, shucked and halved
  • 1 1/2 pounds large shrimp in shell
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons bottled horseradish

Squeeze lemon juice into 4 qt water in a 6- to 8-quart pot, then stir in lemon quarters, Creole seasoning, 2 teaspoon cayenne, bay leaves, garlic, potatoes, and 2 tablespoons salt (omit salt if it is the first ingredient in seasoning).

Bring to a boil, then simmer, partially covered, until potatoes are almost tender, 10 to 12 minutes.

Increase heat to high, then add corn and simmer, partially covered, 4 minutes. Stir in shrimp and cook until just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes.

Meanwhile, stir together ketchup, mayonnaise, horseradish, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon cayenne.

Drain shrimp, potatoes, and corn and serve with sauce.