Matt Moore, chef and author of A Southern Gentleman’s Kitchen, shares the history of this popular stew: “Mystery and controversy often add a dash of intrigue to Southern cuisine, and clearly that’s the case with Frogmore stew. This dish is less stew like than the name would leave you to believe—it’s usually drained from the boiling water completely. According to some, Richard Gay, owner of Gay Fish Company, coined the famous 'frogmore' moniker after the Frogmore community located on South Carolina’s St. Helena Island. About half the locals give the naming credit to Gay, while others each sport their own proprietary claims. Moreover, outsiders often believe the dish actually contains frogs, which is certainly not true. Since this dish carries so many distinctions and allegations, I prefer to give it my own spin—adding my last name, to boot."
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium Vidalia or sweet onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup Old Bay seasoning
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1 (14.5-oz.) can petite diced tomatoes, drained
4 cups seafood stock
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 pounds petite red potatoes, cut in half
4 ears fresh corn, husks removed and broken in half
1 pound smoked sausage, cut into ½-inch pieces
2 pounds unpeeled, extra-large raw Georgia shrimp
1/4 cup unsalted butter
Garnish: fresh chopped parsley
How to Make It
Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high 1 minute or until hot; add oil. Add onion, and sauté 5 minutes or just until tender. Stir in garlic and next 4 ingredients, and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute.
Add tomatoes, and cook, stirring often, 5 minutes or until tomatoes begin to thicken slightly. Add seafood stock, and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits from bottom of Dutch oven, 1 minute. Stir in salt, and bring mixture to a boil. Add potatoes; cover and cook 10 minutes.
Add corn and sausage, and return to a boil; cover and cook 5 minutes. Stir in shrimp, submerging in cooking liquid; cover and cook 3 minutes. Remove Dutch oven from heat, and let stand 8 minutes or just until shrimp turn bright pink and firm. Stir in butter until melted. Remove and discard bay leaf.
Spoon potatoes, corn, sausage, and shrimp into 8 shallow bowls using a slotted spoon. Ladle desired amount of cooking liquid into each bowl. Serve immediately.
Reduced-sodium chicken stock may be substituted for seafood stock.