How do you boil?

LCB-spread-300x225Those of you that follow the blog know that I’m a big fan of low country boils (see my previous recipe/post here).

Well, this past week I spend some time down on the Atlantic coast of Florida, and while picking up some veggies at a local farmers stand on the side of the highway, I got a tip that has changed my boil recipe forever. I’d mentioned that the lemons and onions I was picking up were going into a boil, and the farmer handed me his last head of green cabbage and said “Take this on the house. Cut it up into quarters and drop it into your boil with about 10 minutes left.” And then he went back to packing up my peaches and tomatoes (not going into the boil.)

I was a little surprised, and intrigued. Cabbage? In a low country boil? Heck, I get enough sideways looks for including snow crab in mine, might as well try something else off the beaten path. So, despite the fact that I was cooking for my in-laws and had a reputation to uphold, I threw in this wild card to see how it would play.

The man knew his stuff.

The cabbage broke apart as it cooked, and soaked up all of the essence of the broth, more so than anything else in the pot. It was like someone had distilled all the flavor in the boil and injected it directly into the leaves. The cabbage turned out to be the spiciest part of the whole boil, taking on every bit of hot sauce, cayenne, and pepper.

This got me thinking…what are your oddball additions to a good low country boil? If the cabbage was that good, what else am I missing?

- By Jon Watson, Food & More blog

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