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The Best Meal of the Summer

A Low-Country Boil with the best flavors of summer: corn, shrimp, clams, sausage, red onions, red potatoes, butter and seasonings.
The best flavors of summer: corn, shrimp, clams, sausage, red onions, potatoes, butter, seasonings.

We had to get through the entire summer–all the way to Labor Day weekend–to enjoy what was, without a doubt, the best meal of the season. But it was so worth the wait.

Eastham Vacation Guide’s contributing photographer Beth Maroney and her talented husband, Jim, took over the kitchen while the rest of us enjoyed a chilled bottle of white wine and stood back to watch the magic happen.

A short while later we all dug into a Low-Country Boil that featured the most spectacular tastes and textures on the summer-food and summer-eating spectrum.

This is a perfect recipe to prepare at your Cape Cod vacation rental. It’s easy to make for a crowd and all the meal prep can be done in advance. You don’t even have to remove the cooked food from the foil packets to eat it. Just place packets with cooked food on a sturdy paper plate when you’re ready to serve it, then toss it all away at the end of the meal.

Beth and Jim preparing their fabulous recipe for Low-Country Boil. It was the best meal of the summer!
Beth and Jim preparing their fabulous Low-Country Boil recipe.

Beth and Jim’s Low-Country Boil

8 shell-on jumbo shrimp, deveined

2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning

4 small red-skin potatoes, each cut into 1/4″ slices

2 links Andouille sausage or thick Italian sausage (about 8 ounces), each cut into 1/4″ slices

8 littleneck clams, scrubbed

2 ears corn cut into 1″ wheels

1 lemon sliced into 8 rounds

1/2 small red onion cut into medium-thick slices

4 tablespoons butter

Preheat a grill to medium-high heat. Toss the shrimp with the Old Bay seasoning. Cut 8 sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil, each 12″ long. Layer two sheets on a flat surface so that you have a total of 4 double-sheet packets. Divide all the ingredients except butter among the 4 packets, piling them into the center of each packet. Top each pile with 1 tablespoon butter. Fold up ends of foil and seal packets. Place packets on grill. Cover grill and cook until clams open and potatoes and shrimp are cooked, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Serve with crusty bread. Grill the bread, if desired, before serving.

Makes 4 servings.

This recipe was adapted from one by Katie Lee, a cookbook author, novelist, and co-host of Food Network’s “The Kitchen.”

Sauvignon Blanc paired perfectly with Beth and Jim's Low-Country Boil. It was the best meal of the summer!
Sauvignon blanc and fume blanc paired perfectly with Beth and Jim’s Low-Country Boil.

Possible additions or substitutions: Fresh string beans, fresh zucchini cut into rounds, mussels (which are a little less expensive than clams) or chopped garlic. You might want to substitute scallions for the red onions. You even could add a thick piece of cod to each packet.

We had a lively discussion about how we might alter the recipe next time we make it, although we all agreed that it was absolutely perfect as is. This one is a keeper.

You definitely need a grill to cook it. I don’t think you could achieve the same results if you try cooking it in an oven.

We enjoyed drinking sauvignon blanc with this dish. Our favorites were  Ranga Ranga from New Zealand and Bayten from South Africa. A Ferrari Carano fume blanc from Sonoma County, California, also was delicious.

(Photographs: Carolyn Gatto)

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