Paula Hosts a Summer Dock Party

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By Paula Deen

I’ve traveled a good many places, but nowhere beats a summer evening on the tidal marshes of Savannah.  It’s just so beautiful, y’all. A wonderful, salty breeze comes in off the water, and with the fish jumping, birds singing, and boats slowly drifting by, it feels like the most peaceful place on earth.

It’s not a gift to be wasted.  Michael and I make a point of getting out on our dock as much as we can during these summer months.  Sure, you can count on the Fourth of July as being a big blow-out dock party, but the truth is we’ll come up with any ol’ excuse to get out there and celebrate. 

With June being National Seafood Month, I decided to throw an impromptu dock party with our friends.  Nothing too fussy—just a group of fun-loving people enjoying a big spread of fresh seafood hauled in from our own backyard.  That morning my friend Patrick and I walked to the end of my dock, dropped my crab traps, and pulled in the most beautiful blue crabs you can imagine. 

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If y’all know anything about the South, you know that a cookout without a low country boil is like an engagement without a ring.  But this time I changed my recipe up a bit, replacin’ the shrimp with those blue crabs.  Then I garnished it all with some melted butter and fresh-squeezed lemon.  It was a stunning dish and we had a mess of a time digging into it. 

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See, I take great pride in my ability to “pick” a crab, but it is a learned art.  I had to school my friends who were struggling with the little buggers, letting that delicious meat go to waste.  I showed them how to pick off the legs, remove the lungs and crack the shell to get at the meat.  It’s not pretty, but being pretty won’t fill you up.

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But the real showstopper was a baked fresh red snapper (grouper, bass or catfish works just as well).  When that beauty came out of the oven, the delicate white meat easily flaked apart with our forks.  In between bites and crab pickin’ lessons, we laughed and shared stories as people tend to do when they gather around food.  But every now and again we’d fall quiet and take in the beauty around us.

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This was especially true at sunset.  After our friends said “g’night,” Michael and I stood looking out over the marsh and watched the sun steal away, taking our breath with it.  And I counted another summer blessing.

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Try these other seafood favorites!
Shrimp and Grits
Saucy Catfish
Peel and Eat Shrimp
Bubba’s Chargrilled Oysters
Crab Hushpuppies

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Reader Comments:

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I just want to say, I love your food and products. After learning from your recipes , I have became a better cook. My question is about the blue crab. I love snow crab-legs; however I thought that blue crab was toxic.(as lease some anyway) Please tell me the correct ones to buy because your look wonderful!

By Latonia Smith on July 11, 2012

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I so enjoyed all the photos of your dock party it must have been wonderful! I'm from Maryland so you know we are famous for and love our blue crabs! I am amazed by your strenght and determination in getting your business off the ground with very little money etc., and everything else you had and were going through. I truly admire you and I am so very happy that you have been blessed the way you have been. I watch your cooking shows every chance I get, and cook with many of your delicious recipes. I so enjoy your inter-action with your sons when they are on the show, how much love you have for each other and how tender they are with you. I guess I feel that way because I also have two grown sons and am blessed with grandchildren. My Daughter-in-Law and I are trying to save and hoping one day to be able to meet you and enjoy your famous cooking at the Lady and Sons. In the meantime I am enjoying your shows and Jamie's new show. I love your online store, I am not really computer savy but for you I may even try to blog or twitter(whatever it is called still hesitate about facebook). I watch you on QVC as well. I pray for much continued sucess and good health to you and your family keep enjoying your beautiful home and family. Please keep bringing us your great cooking shows we look forward to those with a cold iced tea or coffee and to relax during a hetic day with you, what great company!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Lov ya Paula!!!

By Linda Norwood on July 03, 2012

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Just love this lady more than the others on foodnetwork..she just make's you fill rigth at ease with your self (not some), being I am from GA, I can relate to her.

By Joyce Warner on June 27, 2012

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Hey Ms.Paula this is your neighbor from Thomasville.Iam sooo...happy for you and Mr.Michael...not only for your marriage,but what the Lord has brought you through and TOO....Each Other...Be Blessed now and have a great summer !!!!Love,Angie

By Angie Reneau on June 27, 2012

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Hi Paula!! Just a note of praise--YOU LOOK GREAT!!! I was reading my newsletter,and seeing the awesome pictures you had e-mailed. The pictures of you look WONDERFUL!! You really have lost the weight!! What's your secret? Those delicious blue crabs and awesome salty breeze might have something to do with it!LOL!!! I love your show and fantastic recipes! I look forward to watching your show-3x's a day!! I got hurt at work,now disabled,I have alot of time--mostly in bed, to watch you!! You brighten up my days!! Thank-you!Well- Now I send you best dishes, from my kitchen to yours! BonnieLou Mauldin

By BonnieLou Mauldin on June 27, 2012

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A PORK ROAST,ADD SEASONING,LET STAND IN REFRIG. FOR TWO DAY'S, COOK ON SKOKER, IN PAN ADD BEER & SOME WATER,And So, ALWAY"S, KEEP A EYE ON JUICE LEVEL, MORE FAVOR'S TO ADD!!! COOK"S FOR ABOUT 5 HOUR'S, SO GOOD!!!!! bUT, YOU KNOW, YOUR, COOKING THE BEST!!!! BUT, ONE THING IS, I DIDN"T ADD BUTTER!!! IT, ALL TASRE SO GREAT, BUTTER THEN WHAT THEY SELL AS BUTTER, GOT TO KNOW THE REAL THING!!!! HOME, COOKING IS ALWAY S THE ONE AND ONLY AND KEEEP IT ALIVE AS TODAY!!!!! GREAT, FAMILY VALUE'S IS THE ONLT WAY, BUTTER UP ON THIS!!!!!

By OESTERLING JEAN ANN on June 26, 2012

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My favorite part of a low country boil, is all of it they are great.

By Neil Kessler on June 26, 2012

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I love your cook books Paula, I also like Bubba's cook book. You girl are looking sooo good. Keep up the good work ( and work it is ).I love seeing how you decorate your tables, My asso. had a pool party last year and I used your idea of buckets full of sand with pin wheels in them. The kids loved them.Thank you for all your inspiration. Pat

By Pat Rupp on June 26, 2012

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Paula...U LOOK FABULOUS............

By Georgianna Powell on June 26, 2012

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Would so love to bring my aunt to meet y'all sometimes, took her to Savannah to your restaurant once, it was a hour and a half wait, she's up in her 70's and couldn't stand the wait. We just think you and your family are awesome, and she's a Georgia Gal too. smile Love the family shows.

By Susan Caruso on June 26, 2012

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Paula you look great. You have lost waight. I am also trying. Keep up the good work. One of your biggest fans.

By vicki miller on June 26, 2012

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Mrs.Paula, you are the QUEEN of cooks in my book!I love everything you do, there is NO ONE that could every take your place,I love all your cookbooks and recipes and I have a bunch of them! I was born and raised in Savannah Georgia off of Skidaway Road, my dream is to one day be able to come back home and visit you in the Ladies and Sons restaurant ,I wish you well and many , many years of happiness, Please keep the good food coming, we love them all! Truly a fan, ZadaAnn

By ZadaAnn Bozzi on June 26, 2012

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Looks like a good time was had by all at your dock party. Paula; looks like you could use a larger baking sheet for that red snapper :} but sure does look yummy. ColleenB.

By ColleenB. on June 26, 2012

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Just wanted to say that I made this pie today and it was awesome. Loved it and it is so easy to make. Thanks for sharing the recipe. Helen

By Helen Syme on June 26, 2012

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Hi Mrs. Paula I have been watching your cooking show for a long time. Keep up the good cooking. You keep cooking with butter, sis, because cooking without butter is like a day without Georgia sunshine.

By Glenn R. Paul on June 26, 2012

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"See, I take great pride in my ability to “pick” a crab, but it is a learned art. I had to school my friends who were struggling with the little buggers, letting that delicious meat go to waste. I showed them how to pick off the legs, remove the lungs and crack the shell to get at the meat. It’s not pretty, but being pretty won’t fill you up." Why don't you show pictures of how to "pick" a crab so us common folk who don't know how can learn how to get the most from our crabs!

By Anonymous on June 26, 2012

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Paula, I love watching you and your family. I miss seeing your show, I watched you everyday. My son lives in Charleston S.C. He took me to the Lady & Sons to eat. Oh my goodness! People are always telling me that I look just like the cooking lady Paula Deen. I always tell them that you are my hero. May God Bless You Mary Ann
Mary Ann Tharp in A Summer of Burgers on August 15, 2014 at 10:48 pm

Add a few spoonfuls of parmesan cheese to the flour and cornmeal breading and it kicks the tomatoes up another notch. Bev
in Crispy Fried Green Tomatoes on August 15, 2014 at 10:33 am

I just bought Paula's Peach Salad Dressing and wondered if anyone has a good recipe that they use it in?
Melissa in Taste Testing 101 on August 13, 2014 at 8:36 am

Congrats Bobby. Loved the family picture miss you Paula on TV will be watching online. Jack is getting big. Looks like his mom but Matt aka moose has your face. Your eyes cheeks hair even falls to his face like yours except to the left. Good luck on your next venture. You give us other 60+ yr women strength to move on. Keep up the good work.
Carol Bryant in Love at Last on August 11, 2014 at 6:12 pm