There are many stories about the origin of this summertime tradition that includes shrimp, sausage, corn, and potatoes. One story says that a shrimper in Frogmore was running low on food and threw everything he had into one, then realizing how great it tasted, started passing out the recipe around local seafood restaurants. Another alleges National Guardsman, Richard Gay, owner of the Gay Seafood Company on St. Helena Island, SC made the stew in an effort to serve over 100 fellow guardsmen. Regardless of its origin, Frogmore Stew became far more well known after is was featured on the cover of Gourmet Magazine in the 1980’s.
The star ingredients in Frogmore Stew are the shrimp and our suggestion is to make the party-friendly dish with Wanchese shrimp from the near century old Wanchese Fish Company in North Carolina. These wild caught shrimp from near the Pamlico Sound are the farthest north warm water shrimp can be found on the East Coast. Harvested in brackish water giving the shrimp a sweet taste and a firmer bite than any other wild or farm raised shrimp.
We have gone through a lot of cookbooks and recipes getting ready for Taste the South and one that was really helpful was Chef Vivian Howard’s Deep Run Roots. Her recipe for a Frogmore Steam maintains the elements everyone loves about a boil, but is more flavorful, as everything sit in a broth made from fat and flavor of the ingredients themselves. Did we mention that it is a perfect recipe for Memorial Day Weekend, if you want a break from grilling burgers and dogs.
If you are looking for a simpler way to get your stew to the table, we have also created a Frogmore Stew Prepless Kitchen Kit, where everything is cut, chopped, and measured, and nearly ready-to-go, the kits are available in the Produce department. Once you grab the pre-bagged kit all you need is your shrimp from the Seafood department and you will have a party in no time.