For a traditional Louisiana shrimp boil, you need 10 pounds of fresh shrimp (with heads on), 4 cups of crab boil, Louisiana-style hot sauce or herb mix, 10 new potatoes and vegetables such as onions and sweet corn. The boil is mainly seasoned with a Louisiana herbs mix or hot sauce, garlic, salt and lemons, but some recipes include variations such as bay leaves and cayenne pepper.
Before making a Louisiana shrimp boil, flush the shrimp with tap water for at least five minutes. The shrimp is clean when the water runs clear. This makes peeling the shrimp easier at a later stage. Bring 4 gallons of water to a boil, and add Louisiana-style seasonings, onion, garlic and 2 halved lemons. Add the potatoes as soon as the water starts to boil, cook for 10 minutes, and add the shrimp and the ears of corn. After cooking for another two minutes, add some salt, and let the boil rest for at least 20 minutes.
Variations to this recipe include adding cooked meat, such as pork sausage, or other types of vegetables, such as artichokes. If you like heat, you can add extra cayenne pepper or a sliced jalapeño to the cooking broth. Some people like to serve the dish with hot garlic bread.
Another good recipe for classic Louisiana boiled shrimp is Chef Prudhomme's Louisiana shrimp boil made with ingredients such as live shrimp, smoked sausage, corn and potatoes. This recipe serves four to six people.
Rinse 10 pounds of live shrimp two times under lukewarm water, and then cover the shrimp with fresh water, letting them soak. Meanwhile, fill a 6-gallon pot with water to the halfway point, and bring to a boil over high heat. Add 4 unpeeled onions, 1/4 cup cayenne pepper and 1/2 cup each of salt and sugar. Cover the pot, bring to a boil, and cook for 15 minutes. Add 1 pound smoked sausage to the pot along with 20 unpeeled new potatoes. Cover pot, and continue cooking for six minutes.
Add 20 unpeeled garlic cloves to the pot, replace the lid, and continue cooking another six minutes. Using a large, slotted spoon, remove all of the garlic, onions, potatoes and sausage from the pot, transferring the vegetables to a large bowl. Cover bowl with a large piece of aluminum foil, seal the edges tightly, and set aside. Add 6 ears husked fresh corn to the cooking pot, cover, and cook for four minutes.
Place shrimp into a large colander, and drain. Add shrimp to the pot, and continue cooking for eight minutes. Remove corn from pot, and place into the bowl with the potatoes, covering tightly. Remove shrimp from pot, and transfer to another large pot. Cover the large pot, and allow shrimp to steam for 10 minutes. Serve all ingredients together.