Michael Chiarello's Succulent Shrimp Boil

Impress your friends and host an outdoor seafood feast. We've got a star chef's recipe.

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A seafood boil is a Fourth of July tradition for chef and TV host Michael Chiarello. It is as easy to do for 20 as for two. Spread butcher paper on the tables, and offer a variety of hot sauces; Michael's favorite is Crystal brand. Also have melted butter, sea salt, and fennel spice ready. When the shrimp and vegetables are done, dump them directly onto the table. And when everyone has finished, roll up the butcher paper for easy cleaning.

This recipe serves 4.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup fennel seed
2 Tbs. black peppercorns
2 Tbs. coriander seed
1 Tbs. red pepper flakes
2 bay leaves
6 quarts water
2 lemons, halved
1 head garlic, sliced through the equator but not all the way through
1 cup dry white wine
1/2-cup sea salt, preferably gray salt
8 small boiling potatoes
2 onions, unpeeled, ends removed
4 medium artichokes (no need to trim)
1 lb. jumbo shrimp in the shell

Garnishes:
melted unsalted butter
sea salt, preferably Gray salt
fennel spice
hot-pepper sauce

Preparation:

  1. Combine the fennel seed, peppercorns, coriander, pepper flakes and bay leaves and tie in a cheesecloth bag.
  2. Put the bag in a large pot with the water, the lemon halves, the garlic, the wine and the salt. Cover and bring to a simmer, then simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Add the potatoes, onions and artichokes and simmer gently, covered, until they are tender.
  4. As they are done, remove them to a serving platter. The potatoes may take 20 minutes or more; the onions and artichokes will take 30-40 minutes.
  5. After you have removed all the vegetables, add the shrimp. Cook just until they turn pink, about 3 minutes. Remove them with a slotted spoon to the serving platter.
  6. Cut the onions in half. Cut the artichokes in half and scoop out and discard the chokes.
  7. Serve the shrimp, potatoes, onions and artichokes with shallow bowls of melted butter, sea salt, and fennel spice for dipping, and with jars of hot sauce.

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