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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Pickled Shrimp

I was recently invited by a lovely couple I know over to their new apartment for Easter brunch. Like a good Southern girl, I know that you never show up empty handed to a party. So I decided to make Papaw's Pickled Shrimp. This is a very common dish down South, but no one in New York has even heard of it. It's a simple appetizer that looks very elegant when displayed in any sort of glass or crystal serving dish.
My plan on Easter was to attend a Baptist Church in downtown Manhattan, run back to Brooklyn to pick up the shrimp and then be a bad Baptist and drink mimimos with friends all afternoon. However, little did I know that the people of Mariners Temple Baptist Church do not kid around when it comes to Easter Sunday service.. At around the 3 hour mark, they were still goin strong...and I was LATE to brunch. So unfortunately, I had to sneak out of church early, forego the trip to Brooklyn to retrieve the shrimp and just proceed uptown, grabbing a bottle of Prosecco along the way. The brunch was fantastic, and I got stuck eating the entire serving of pickled shrimp all by myself over the next days, which I totally loved. Poor me, I know. Next time, I promise to share.

3-4 lbs. cooked, peeled shrimp
3/4 cup vinegar
2 1/2 T. capers and liquid
2 dashes Tabasco
3 or 4 pods of garlic
1-2 onions, sliced and separated into rings
1 1/3 cup salad oil
2 1/2 t. celery seed
2 t. salt
8 bay leaves
few dashes of Lea & Perrins

The first thing I did was go ahead and just slice the onions thinly for rings, as well as peel a few cloves of garlic.

I decided not to post the pics of the whole shrimp de-heading process because, well, they just aren't pretty. Unlike most people, I like de-heading the shrimp. So, if you ever need any help decapitating these yummy little monsters, give me a call. Once de-headed, I threw these fellows into some boiling water (I added a little Old Bay because I have it), and cooked for only 3 minutes. They don't have to be fully cooked, as the pickling process will continue to cook them even further. I drained them immediately, and then I peeled and de-veined them, leaving the tail on.

The next, and final step, just involved mixing all of the ingredients and then adding the shrimp and onions to the mixture. I added in some peppercorns as well, from a suggestion from my pal Mary Margaret. The shrimp need to marinate in this at least overnight to achieve the full pickeld flavor.

I decided to serve these in a cute Mason jar from The Container Store so that the dish would travel well, but really anything clear would do. You'll need a slotted spoon for serving. Yum Yum!

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