Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Summer Summer Summer Thyme

There is something about summer that makes me want to enjoy all of my meals outside with an ice cold beer.  Yesterday, my partner took me to Hung Phong Oriental Market which he frequents when buying supplies for the family restaurant.  I was in heaven!  Out of curiosity, I strolled up to the freezers and discovered a large array of vegan goodies!  Shrimp! Fish! Tofu! Chik'n!  So many options.  I grabbed two packages of King Prawns with one goal in mind: Vegan Shrimp Boil.

Crawfish boils were a regular part of my childhood.  When I was in middle school, our next door neighbor was from Louisiana.  All summer long, he'd go on these fishing trips and return with crawfish to boil.  He'd cook up a big pot, and dump it on a table in the backyard where the entire neighborhood lined up to grab a piece.  We ate with our hands and all that spicy boil juice got everywhere.  It's decades later, and I've been vegan or vegetarian for so much of my life that this is the first time I've had a boil in over 20 years.  What a way to usher in summer!

simple. delicious. nostalgia.
Vegan Shrimp Boil
This is easily adaptable when it comes to ingredients.  If you don't wanna search for vegan shrimp, use some steamed tempeh or extra firm tofu.  Hell, even some really sturdy beans or more veggies would work!

3 quarts water
12 oz beer, optional
4 Tbsp coarse sea salt (or to taste)*
3 oz boil-in-a-bag mix (Zatarain's)
2 Tbsp Louisiana style hot sauce
1 tsp cayenne, optional

1 large white onion, quartered
1 full head org. garlic, sliced in half skins on
1 bay leaf
1 lb mini red potatoes (1 inch dice if mini cannot be found)
2 ears of corn, sliced into four
4 vegan sausage links, sauteed and sliced
1 lb vegan shrimp**
1 lb cremini mushrooms
1 large lemon, sliced

Parsley, minced
Lemon wedges

Pour water, beer, salt, boil-in-a-bag, and hot sauce in an 8 quart pot.  Add onion, garlic, and bay leaf.  Bring to a rolling boil. Add potatoes, and boil for 5 minutes.  Add the corn and sliced sausage links into the pot.  Boil another 5-7 minutes.  Afterwards, double check to make sure the potatoes are tender before adding the final ingredients.  Add lemon, shrimp, and mushrooms.  Boil another 3-4 minutes, until mushrooms are cooked.  Let cool while you prep your table.

Drain well.  Serve up on a table covered in newspaper or parchment with lemon and fresh parsley.  Enjoy with an ice cold beverage of your choice!
Photo Credit: Nooch Vegan Market
* I used half Himalayan and half sea salt.  It's a lot of salt but it doesn't stay on the boil for long.
** Vegan shrimp is pretty easily accessible these days.  Whole Foods stores around the country regularly sell Sophie's or Vegetarian Plus.  I used the Vegan King Prawn featured above.