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Photograph: Ben Rowe

Hype dish: Decatur’s fragrant and spicy shrimp boil

Decatur founder Tom Browne explains how he brought a taste of Louisiana to London

Isabelle Aron
Written by
Isabelle Aron

Decatur founder Tom Browne was living in the USA when he fell in love with the food of Louisiana. When he moved back to London, he couldn’t find anywhere doing authentic Southern US cooking. He launched Decatur and did pop-ups and residencies all over the city. In lockdown, he launched a DIY shrimp boil kit which developed a cult following. He explains what makes this dish work (spoiler: lots of spices).

The sausage

‘We use a Cajun-style andouille sausage which we have made for us. It’s heavy on dried thyme, cayenne and black pepper. It’s smoked, so it’s got a good flavour.’

The shrimp

‘They’re XL jumbo shrimp from Billingsgate. We put them in, bring the boil to a simmer and cut the heat. They sit in the liquor until they’re poached through and full of flavour.’

The stock

‘We boil a pot of water with lemons, oranges, garlic and onions, then we add dried spices and our boil blend with 12 herbs and spices.  It gets the water fragrant and quite spicy.’

The veg

‘The potatoes go in first, cooked until they’re al dente. They have the longest amount of time in the pot, so they soak up loads of flavour. The corn on the cob goes in after.’

The extras

‘We serve it with a baggie of our spice mix for extra heat, and a Cajun-spiced garlic butter. If you want to get a bit more messy, you can also add a Norwegian snow-crab cluster.’

Decatur is at Quality Wines in Farringdon Sep 29-Oct 16. Its shrimp boil kits are available at from £40 for two people.

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