Recipe for a big, easy-to-throw-together, no-plates-required East Coast-style shrimp boil: a few pounds of shrimp (with their extremely flavorful heads on, please!), a bunch of small potatoes and some ears of corn snapped in half.
Oh, and a massive pot. Deep enough to fill with two gallons of water and all the aromatics you have lying around--onions, garlic, a halved lemon, some whole coriander seeds, bay leaves, chile flakes--whatever you've got, get it in there.
Let the pot simmer for a while so the liquid gets deeply seasoned and reduces just a little. Now throw in the potatoes, corn and shrimp, in that order. You don't want overcooked shrimp, so toss those guys in during the last five minutes (see the recipe).
That's about it. Open some beers, cover a table with yesterday's newspaper and eat right off it, dipping the warm meat in bowls of melted butter and extra broth, letting the shrimp shells pile up in the middle, making a bit of a mess.
Ideally, this table would be in a breezy spot outside, dappled in shade, but it could also be in a tiny apartment halfway up a stack of concrete. A shrimp boil makes its own sunshine.
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