How does a sheet pan shrimp boil relate to laboring less? In so many ways! Learning to slow down is one of the greatest difficulties in life. There is something about American individualism (or is it the Protestant work ethic?) that drives so many in our society to work until we break. If we are not working, we are being anxious over the fact that we are relaxing and feel we should be doing something. Many Americans can probably relate and from my travels, many others around the world are increasingly feeling the same.
Learning to labor less is not necessarily about becoming a slacker. It is about learning when enough is enough and when whatever is being done is really not beneficial or even necessary for the soul to thrive. Are we working for the sake of our own ego? Impressing others? Trying to be the best? The world rewards these things, but in the end, is it what matters? Trying to determine what is good for the soul and what is good for the world are two very different things. Increasingly, I find it necessary to be more attentive to the small voice that whispers to what is needed by praying without ceasing. It really is the most necessary thing, ever.
The American south has a reputation for capturing the ability to take things slow in a way that the Italians, Spanish and Greeks have, at least in the warmer parts of these countries. I have often speculated about the effects of climate on work habits. The warmer areas of the world need to rest and have a siesta so as to not break in the heat. But why does this just exist as a climate specific ideal? We all need to learn that incessant work is driving us more to mental illness than economic success.
Labor Day in the United States is a time to honor the labor movements that continue to bring about economic stability, equality and improve work conditions and hours. What it means to many is a time to get together with family and friends and grill out and enjoy each other. It seems to me there is a tie here, people have the time to relax in leisure in many cases thanks to the unions because they can afford to and have time. I will appreciate this little bit while waiting for the siesta to kick in here in Pennsylvania. 😉
If you are like me, sharing food is a great way to relax on Labor Day. What better food to eat on this day but a Lowcountry boil from our American south! The Lowcountry boil usually involves shrimp, corn on the cob, sausage, and red potatoes, and sometimes ham. It can go by various names such as Frogmore Stew, Beaufort boil, a Lowcountry boil, or a tidewater boil,
French, Spanish, African and Caribbean influences including the people involved in the slave trade, have imparted their culinary traits on food in the Louisiana area where this dish has its roots. The traditional boil (and actually this sheet pan shrimp boil) was a quick and easy way to prepare a large amount of food in a frugal way for many people. Boil water, add seasonings and toss in each food until done. Pour it out on some newspaper and dig in. What a great tradition from humble roots.
This sheet pan shrimp boil recipe was developed as a response to the traditional boil, but an easy clean up recipe for a small urban single, couple or family. If you have a large family, you can easily double this. Not only do the proportions in this recipe provide a sheet pan shrimp boil for two, but the extra sausage can be eaten on a roll with spicy mustard the next day for lunch. Extra potatoes are a delicious addition to a salad. Cooked and flavored, they are ready to go.
- 1 pound of baby potatoes, any variety (I used yukon gold, red & peruvian purple)
- 3 ears of sweet corn, cut into 3 pieces
- 1 pound of medium or large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 package smoked chicken andouille sausage, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 6 cloves of garlic, grated
- 1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges
- 3 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
- sea salt
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
- Add potatoes to a large pot and cover with water. Bring a large pot of waterok potatoes until fork tender. This will take about 10-15 minutes.
- In a small saucepan, melt butter, lemon juice, garlic and Old Bay Seasoning.
- Place potatoes, corn, shrimp and sausage in a single layer onto the prepared baking sheet. Stir in butter mixture and gently toss to combine. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the shrimp are opaque and corn is nice and tender.
- Serve with lemons and toss with parsley.