I have loved shrimp for as long as I can remember. One of my very first memories is of a vinyl, red and white checkered tablecloth, a giant pot of steamed shrimp redolent with the fragrance of Old Bay, a spray bottle of margarine, and my great-grandparents, grandparents, and parents gathered around the table. Those were some very special moments.
So many of my favorite meals and recipes stem from my Gaga's (my maternal grandmother) kitchen, and her shrimp salad is no exception.
No matter how fast the grandchildren multiplied, Gaga always had enough shrimp salad and saltines to go around.
These days, I cannot always hop over to her table when I need a shrimp salad fix, so this is my own rendition of her savored recipe.
First, we address the shrimp. Always look for local-caught, fresh, shrimp. After you have tackled the peeling and de-veining, it's time to cook.
A heavy dose of Old Bay goes into our pot of water and we set to boiling. Once the water is boiling, drop the shrimp into the pot and boil for three minutes. It will not take long! As soon as the shrimp are plump and pink, it's time to drain!
While the shrimp cool, we get to dicing. Celery and dill pickles act as co-stars to our shrimp.
Celery seed, salt, pepper, Old Bay, pickle juice, and mayonnaise form our dressing.
After everything has been combined and tossed, the salad will need a couple of hours in the fridge. This will allow the flavors to meld.
In the mean time, slice several yeast rolls and separate your lettuce.
Lunch is served, Gaga-style.
GAGA'S SHRIMP SALAD
MAKES ENOUGH FOR EIGHT SANDWICHES // SERVES 4-6
Cook's Note: I love this salad most when served on soft yeast rolls, and a leaf of butter lettuce. However, it is also delicious aside saltines or on its own!
2 lbs wild-caught shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons + 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1 teaspoon celery salt
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup dill pickle juice
3 kosher dill pickle spears, diced finely
1/2 cup finely diced celery
freshly ground black pepper
8 leaves butter lettuce
8 yeast rolls (I like to make my own using this recipe.)
Bring 6 cups of water to a rolling boil and add 2 tablespoons of Old Bay seasoning. Drop shrimp into the boiling water and boil for three minutes. Drain immediately and allow to cool before dicing into 1/4-inch cubes.
In a large bowl, whisk together remaining Old Bay seasoning, celery salt, sea salt, mayonnaise, and pickle juice. Stir in shrimp, diced pickles, and diced celery. Season with black pepper to taste.
Serve on yeast rolls and top with a leaf of butter lettuce. Enjoy!