Sous Chef Series: Jason Stanhope’s Lowcountry Boil

Chefs, Meet, Sous Chef Series

 

Jason Stanhope’s culinary career was kick-started in Peru.

 

At the time, he was a student at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, and moved to Cuzco to complete his externship at the Hotel Monasterio. When the fish cook, Angel, fell sick, Stanhope had to step in. “I was this young white kid who spoke no Spanish,” he recalls. “But when you get pushed in, you sink or swim.” Stanhope swam.

 

After returning to the states, he worked in Kansas City before landing at Fig in Charleston, South Carolina. For the Sous Chef Series, Stanhope made his version of a Lowcountry boil, a coastal South Carolina classic loaded with local seafood and summer vegetables. “You can do any combination of ingredients,” says Stanhope. “It’s about getting people together, having beers, getting shellfish juice on your face.”

 

Stanhope’s Lowcountry boil is loaded with the best seafood he can find in Charleston. But he cautions that his recipe is really just a guideline. “Let the market guide you,” he says. “Find the best products and create the boil around them.” In the fall, he adds root vegetables to the boil, and in the summer he loads it up with tomatoes and corn. In addition to salsa verde, Stanhope likes to serve his boil with aioli, drawn butter and lemon wedges.

 

 

 

Lowcountry Boil

 

4 quarts (16 cups) water

¼ cup Old Bay seasoning

½ cup kosher salt

4 dried bay leaves

4 fresh thyme sprigs

3 heads of garlic, halved crosswise (through the middle) to expose the cloves

1 pound jumbo 16/20-count peel-on shrimp

8 golf-ball-size red potatoes

10 littleneck clams, scrubbed

10 mussels, scrubbed and debearded

1 fennel bulb, cored and sliced lengthwise into 8 wedges

2 medium zucchini, sliced crosswise into ½-inch-thick pieces

2 links andouille sausage, sliced on a bias into ¾-inch-thick pieces

1 pound stone crab claws or legs

 

Salsa Verde

1 cup roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley

2 oil-packed anchovies, finely chopped (optional)

2 tsp. capers, rinsed

½ tsp. Dijon mustard

1 garlic clove, roughly chopped

Juice of 1 lemon

6 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Sea salt

 

To Serve

1 baguette, sliced on a bias into ¾-inch-thick pieces

3 lemons, sliced into wedges

 

Directions

Make the poaching liquid: In a large pot set over high heat, bring to a boil the water, Old Bay seasoning, salt, bay leaves, thyme and halved garlic heads. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 30 minutes.

 

While the broth simmers, make the salsa verde: Use a small food processor (or the small bowl attachment of a standard-size food processor) to purée the parsley, anchovies, capers, mustard, garlic and lemon juice. With the machine running, add the olive oil until the mixture is thick and emulsified. Season with salt to taste.

 

Use a paring knife to make a shallow slit down the curved back of the shrimp, removing the vein (if there is one) and leaving the shell intact. Place the shrimp in a bowl and refrigerate.

 

Add the potatoes to the broth and cook until nearly tender (a paring knife will easily slide into the outer edge but not all the way to the center), about 10 minutes. Add the clams, mussels and fennel, simmer until a paring knife easily slides into the fennel, about 5 minutes, then add the shrimp and zucchini. Cook until the zucchini starts to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the andouille and crab and cook for 4 minutes.

 

Divide the boil into four shallow bowls. Drizzle the salsa verde over the baguette slices and place a slice or two in each bowl. Serve with lemon wedges. Serves 4.

 

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