how to host a crab boil on a tiny terrace
Published Jul 27, 2016 6:00 AM
text by SHANI SILVER
photography by MICHAEL WILTBANK
styling by JENNY KAPLAN
recipes by DAVE KAPLAN
Summer entertaining should never be stifled by square footage. (The heat index however…). This year we’ve once again enlisted the help of the brother/sister team we count on to throw parties so chic that space constraints don’t matter matter one bit. Seafood fans living in small spaces will be delighted to hear that it’s possible (and also a great idea) to throw a crab boil on a tiny terrace. Let Jenny Kaplan and Dave Kaplan show you how.
FOR YOU, WHAT ARE THE KEY COMPONENTS OF A “CRAB BOIL”? The key components of a “crab boil” are simple. Traditionally there will be red potatoes, corn, some sort of smoked meat like kielbasa, and of course crab. Oh and lots of ice cold beer. If you live in an area where crab, especially blue crab, isn’t available, don’t sweat it, you can use just about any kind of shellfish for this adaptable recipe, whether it’s shrimp, crawfish, or even lobster.
WHAT DID YOU DO HERE THAT’S DIFFERENT FROM THE AVERAGE CRAB BOIL? We put our own twist on this traditional crab boil with our own unique aesthetic touches. Instead of just simply covering the table with newspaper, we used some butcher paper to set a neutral background for the bright colors of the boil. This also separated the main attraction: the blue crab, from the rest of the boil, which made for a more organized dinner and eating experience.
HOW DOES THIS COMPARE TO OTHER EVENTS YOU’VE THROWN ON THIS TERRACE? This event was fairly simple to execute. A crab boil isn’t really that involved, which is great if you are pressed for time and are looking to throw a dinner party fairly quickly. One of the best parts of a crab boil is the clean up. Since you’re essentially cooking everything in one pot and eating on newspaper, cleanup is a breeze.
WHAT CHALLENGES DOES THIS TINY TERRACE PRESENT FOR A DINNER OF THIS KIND, AND HOW DID YOU DEAL WITH THEM? Seating is always an issue. It is often more comfortable for guests to enjoy themselves when we throw smaller, more intimate dinner parties on the terrace. Also, since the terrace is high up, the wind factor can be a big challenge. Finding clever and aesthetically pleasing ways to make sure things don’t blow over can be hard – we used small flower vases with arrangements to help with this problem.
ARE THERE ANY DESIGN ELEMENTS HERE THAT YOU’D CONSIDER YOUR SIGNATURE STYLE? After we set a menu, it’s really fun to draw inspiration from the food. Florals are always mandatory to finish the table setting, and most often Jenny will pull color from the recipes on hand. A specialty cocktail to match back to the meal is also a signature of ours. The negroni played off the crab theme, and was the perfect compliment to the meal. Also, we love adding in a type of DIY element, in this case we Ikea hacked a galvanized waste bin into a beer cooler.
WHAT ARE SERVING/ENTERTAINING MUST HAVES WE SHOULD BE AWARE OF FOR TINY TERRACE ENTERTAINING LIKE THIS? Planning is must, especially when dealing with small spaces like this terrace. Before your guests arrive, map out how you are going to set the table. Have an open cooler with beverages on ice ready for your guests to grab a cold drink when they arrive. Pick a designated area to setup a DIY bar where you can put your friends to work making cocktails. This gives you a chance to show your guests how to make a new drink, but more importantly frees you up for other hosting responsibilities. Keeping the cooler and the bar outside will keep guests on the terrace and out of the kitchen space.
WHAT PIECE OF SMALL SPACE ENTERTAINING ADVICE DO YOU FIND YOURSELF GIVING OVER AND OVER AGAIN? Organization is key! Make a couple of check lists. A “grocery” list and a “to do list”. It’s better to have a rough plan, that way you can be calm and collected when your guests arrive. It’s important for you have fun at your own party, too!
BAYOU STYLE CRAB BOIL
- 1 lb small red potatoes
- 4 ears corn on the cob, husks and silk removed, cut in half
- 1 lb smoked kielbasa
- 1 dozen live blue crabs
- ½ cup Old Bay Seasoning
- 3 lemons, cut into wedges for serving
- In a large pot with a raised rack (minimum of 2 inches high) add equal parts of water and vinegar to just below where the rack sits. Bring to a boil.
- Add the potatoes to the pot and cook covered with lid for 10 minutes.
- Add the corn and kielbasa to the pot. Cook covered with lid for another 10 minutes.
- After the potatoes, corn, and kielbasa have been cooking for 20 minutes, carefully layer crabs into the pot; sprinkling each layer with the Old Bay seasoning. Cover and steam for the last 10 minutes or until crabs turn red.
- Serve with lemons wedges and additional Old Bay if desired.
- 1 oz Mezcal
- 1 oz Campari
- 1 oz sweet vermouth
- orange twist
- Combine Mezcal, Campari, and sweet vermouth in an ice-filled glass; stir gently for 30 seconds.
- Strain cocktail over an old fashioned rocks glass filled with fresh ice and garnish with an orange twist.
- For an added twist, rub the orange part of the rind around the rim of the glass to release the essential oils for an added citrus taste with every sip.