Here it is, middle of February, and as typical here in North Carolina, we’re having a beautimous day approaching 80 degrees! A few windows have flung open to ‘air out’ the house, hopefully blowing out the germs from another visit from Mr. Winter Crud. I’m trying to pretend the fragrance of Vick’s Vaporizer that fills the air is actually salt air and close my eyes, visualizing I’m strolling down one of our beautiful North Carolina beaches.
One of my favorite warmish day meals is Shrimp or Seafood Salad. This is such an easy and f.a.s.t. treat to throw together and for me, gets better after a day or two in the fridge! I hope you’ll enjoy making this salad and enjoy eating it as much as I do! Now, I’ve gotta run and rinse the sand off my toes….
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Many recipes I post in my my blog will not give you exact measurements. I like to teach folks “throw” cook’n… throw some of this, that and the other together till it tastes like you like it! Those are usually the best dishes, so don’t be afraid! What’s the worst that can happen? You have “A” dish that’s not going to be a family fav? The other side of that is you *might* even create something you’ll be making for years to come! So, don’t be afraid just because there are no measurements here ~ let’s just throw down…
Start with fresh local shrimp if possible. Here in my neck of the woods, I can get peeled and deveined North Carolina Shrimp at Lowe’s Foods (where they have seafood markets). I stock up when on sale and buy 5# bags still frozen (just ask the folks behind the counter for those). That way, I can just grab out a few handfuls at the time to throw on a salad, in a quick stir fry or to make shrimp butter to top a steak just off the grill. Sometimes (as in this batch), I throw in some of that ‘fake’ crab, not a big fav of mine, but in this case, had a few extra folks coming and needed a quick stretch of the salad (and one in the crowd loves the stuff)! The shrimp need to be well drained…. so throw in the colander to thaw and drain.
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After draining, I take some paper towels and dab the shrimp to dry out as much as possible… then throw in a bowl.
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One of my fav kitchen tools are my Dollar Store scissors… I keep several pair handy (along with my wondermous Cutco Shears). The scissors are perfect for snipping things like the ‘crab’ in this salad.
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Celery is a ‘must’ for me in seafood salads… so just finely dice up as much as you like., then throw it in the bowl.
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A little red onion never hurts either, so throw that in too! I usually add some boiled eggs, again, as much or as little as you like… but didn’t use egg in this particular batch. Sometimes I throw in some pickle relish or cubes too.
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Any kind of pepper will do, but I like using white pepper in light salads!
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…and in my kitchen, the o.n.l.y. mayo is DUKE’S! End of story. Start with a couple of tablespoons and stir in… add a tablespoon at the time until the consistency you like.
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The is where you can play with seasonings…now y’all know I’m not one to measure, so throw in whatever herbs and spices you like with fishy wishy stuff. I sometimes grab a pack of Ranch Dressing mix and throw in a bit to mix with the Duke’s to ‘dress’ this salad. Even a dab of honey mustard is good in a seafood salad. Some herbs and spices that work well with shellfish are bay, basil, cayenne, coriander, curry powder, dill, marjoram, oregano, tarragon and thyme.
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And as ‘standard’ for many of us Southern cooks, we have to throw in some sugahhh because that just enhances everything… a little dab ‘l do ya!
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Mix it all up real good, and dish up! Garnishes that work well are parsley, chive or cilantro… I ♥ cilantro, so I often use that on my Shrimp Salad. Try to make this a day ahead, or at least a few hours ahead if possible and throw in the fridge. All those goodies will ‘marry’ and taste bunches better after ‘dating’ for a while! I hope this recipe has inspired you to throw together a shrimp salad real soon. And if you do, come on back here and tell us about it. And oh, can you smell the salt air where you are?