Such a YUMMY and fun event for you and your friends or family.
You can mix in whatever seafood you'd like. In Michigan, we were able to get SOME fresh little neck clams, and we mixed it in with frozen mussels and frozen shrimp.
Here's what we did:
Shrimp (approximately 6 per person)
Andouille sausage (approximately 1/4 per person)
Clams (whatever you can get!)
Red skin potatoes (roughly 2 per person)
Several garlic cloves
Mussels (approximately 3 per person)
Medium yellow onions (about 1/4 per person)
Corn - we planned about a half an ear per person, and cut them into quarters
A couple of beers for adding to the boil
LOTS of your favorite Milford Spice Company spices. We tied up the following in a cheesecloth bag to add to the water, and then pulled it out before serving: Bay leaves, coriander seed, mustard seed, black peppercorns. Then we added French Seafood Seasoning directly to the water, a touch of salt, and some extra cayenne for good measure.
We had over twenty people, so we boiled everything up in a huge turkey fryer outside. You can also boil right on the stove top in a stock pot.
Get everything prepared and ready to go and begin boiling the water, beer and spice mixture. We filled pot about 1/2 full - part water, part beer - and put in the spices and spice bag right away.
Once your mixture has reached a boil, add your ingredients in order of how quickly they'll cook. We started with the onions, then about 3 minutes later added the potatoes. Approximately 3 minutes later we added the sausage. Next (3-4 minutes) the mussels and clams and corn. Wait about 5 minutes then add the shrimp. Don't overcook the shrimp - 3-4 minutes is about all it takes if the water is boiling!
Be sure to only eat clams and mussels that have opened during cooking - my east coast connections claim this is how to know they are safe to eat. We scrubbed them really well before we cooked them too, and didn't add any that were not closed when they were raw.
Once the shrimp is done, drain well (our turkey fryer had a built in colander we boiled in), then dump in the center of the table and dig in!
We added our favorite spices on the table so guests could add what they like -including our Kenny's East Texas Cajun, several salts (we love the Australian Flake Salt on the corn!), and more of the French Seafood Seasoning.
Oh yeah, and be sure to have several sticks of butter on the table or melted butter (especially if you serve lobster!)
Other entertaining tips:
We used flour sack cotton towels guests could use as bibs/napkins.
To dress the table we made napkin rings with a nautical blue and white stripped heavy ribbon and securing them with a glue gun, we also added a shell. Inexpensive and pretty!
To keep the table looking good yet casual, we served the wine in pint sized jelly jars. They were less than a buck a piece!
Our guests all wore casual "Hamptons" wear - think madras shorts, flip flops, bright polo or button down shirts and khaki pants.
Oh yeah, and we started out with a bourbon station. We asked several guests to bring their favorite bourbon and cocktail fixings. We loved the bourbon station and fun mixers inclluding Basil Simple Syrup, Mint Simple Syrup, homemade cherry bitters, and lots of fresh herbs right from the garden!
Corn is being harvested right now in Michigan so we really loved the just picked corn on the cob. Yum!
We served a light tomato salad and some other delicious hors d'oeuvres as the guests mingled around watching the seafood boil get together! Ask you guests to bring their favorite appetizer - we couldn't believe what a job our friends did, and most were made from produce just picked from their garden. Delicious!
After the meal, we enjoyed a bonfire and had fun making smores.