Down in Fairhope, Alabama, it's all about the magic of a one-pot shrimp boil and a dozen friends. | Story by Sid Evans
Fairhope Shrimp Boil
My friends Mena and Henry Morgan down in Fairhope, Alabama, call it a "one-pot," but that may be a Gulf Coast thing. Similar dishes are called a "Low-country boil," a "Beaufort boil," or "Frogmore stew." There are probably as many variations on the name as there are on the recipe, but for the Morgans, what matters is super-fresh shrimp, a simple setup, and a festive atmosphere. The party happens on their dock overlooking Mobile Bay, and they try to do it when there's a nice breeze to keep the mosquitoes away. A pretty sunset is a bonus, as are the schooners that sometimes cross the Bay.
Though Henry is known to occasionally wear women's sunglasses (to put his guests at ease), he is serious about the food. For him, a one-pot has to have the freshest shrimp you can find, Conecuh Sausage, and green olives, which give it a little tang to balance out the starches. Mena makes sure everyone feels relaxed and welcome, sometimes inviting over friends and neighbors (or even the occasional magazine editor) at the last minute. Over the years they've perfected the one-pot formula, but it's always a little imperfect. That's their secret, and that's the spirit to embrace when throwing a one-pot of your own.
No-fuss flowers, casual votives, and chilled rosé set the simple yet enchanting scene.
Anchor Your Tablecloth
Classic wooden buoys add to the nautical theme and keep the cloth in place. We found a range of vintage red-and-white buoys on eBay.com for $10 and up.
Set the Theme
Welcome guests to the table with name cards tucked into monkey's fist knots. Tie The Knot Wedding Place Card Holder, $115/set of 20, StalkingTheWildSnark.etsy.com.
Serve It Simply
Craft paper rolled over a gingham tablecloth keeps the meal casual.
Keep It Rustic
This red-handled Core Bamboo Matte Finish 3-Piece Cutlery Set can be washed by hand and reused. $9.99; amazon.com.
Shrimp Boil with Green Olives and Lemon
Shrimp Boil with Green Olives and Lemon is a Gulf Coast take on a traditional Lowcountry boil.
Roasted Potato-and-Okra Salad
Recipe: Roasted Potato-and-Okra Salad
This fresh yet hearty side dish features roasted potatoes instead of the boiled ones traditionally served as part of the Lowcountry-style spread.
Crispy Andouille Hush Puppies
Recipe: Crispy Andouille Hush Puppies
This crunchy, savory bite is a delicious dockside starter.
Boozy Peach Shortcakes with Sweet Cream
A few easy tricks turn ready-made biscuits into the foundation for irresistible shortcakes.