Nothing says shrimp season in Louisiana like a shrimp boil. All of the typical Creole ingredients flavor the water the shrimp is boiled in, which in turn flavors the shrimp. The more flavorful the broth, the more flavorful the shrimp will be, which is why I opt for whole onions, celery, bell pepper, garlic and lemons in addition to the typical dried seasonings. Using shrimp with the heads still attached also helps boost the broth since much of the good, shrimpy flavor comes from the head! Because the crustaceans need a bit of room to bob around in the pot to boil evenly, they are cooked in a huge pot, usually outside. You’ll need your largest pot for this at-home version. The longer the shrimp rests in the broth after they’ve been cooked, the more flavor they’ll absorb.
Fill the largest pot you have two-thirds full of water and heat over high heat until it reaches a rolling boil.
Add the onions, celery, bell pepper, lemons, garlic, bay leaves, salt, crab seasoning, creole seasoning, peppercorns, cayenne pepper and smoked paprika. Bring back to a rolling boil, then add the shrimp and stir so that they are all submerged in the water. Cook for 1 minute, then turn the heat off, cover the pot and leave it on the hot stove so that the shrimp can absorb the flavors.
Allow the shrimp to soak for 30 minutes, or up to 1 hour. Remove the shrimp by straining them from the liquid and set aside. Return the liquid and other solids to the pot, place over high heat again and heat until the liquid reaches a rolling boil again.
Once boiling, add the corn and potatoes and cook until the potatoes are fork-tender and the corn is tender, about 8 minutes. Remove the corn and potatoes by straining the stock. (You can serve a little stock alongside the shrimp for dipping, and you can also reserve any remaining stock for another use.)
Enjoy the shrimp, corn and potatoes while warm. Serve with hot sauce, lemon wedges and a little stock for dipping if desired.