I grew up in the Dallas/Fort Worth part of Texas and am familiar with the scorching heat that bakes Texans and much of the mid-west in the summer months.
Putting food on the family table in the blistering heat of summer requires some advance planning. If cooking is necessary, it’s best done early in the day or outdoors.
Vic and I had friends in Baltimore who owned a charming home in Bolton Hill that was built in 1830; an endearing smaller home that had almost no right angles left, stairs and flooring that made enchanting sounds of age as you walked them and a lean-to structure in the back with glass-less windows called a summer kitchen. When we visited with his uncle and aunt in Bangkok, all cooking was done outside the main house. How sensible!
For this substantial summer salad, the only cooking is boiling the shrimp, which can be done in the cool of the morning.
Cold Shrimp Remoulade Salad
Brining frozen shrimp – adapted from Cooks Illustrated
I got this valuable tip from Cooks Illustrated magazine years ago. When I was catering in Baltimore, I would often brine up to 10 pounds of frozen shrimp for buffet-size shrimp cocktail. The texture and flavor of the shrimp always elicited comments.
For two pounds of frozen shrimp – look for wild-caught shrimp, not farmed.
- 4 quarts water
- ½ cup Kosher salt or ¼ cup table salt
- Dissolve the salt in 2 cups of the water that you have brought to a boil.
- Add the remaining 3½ quarts of water. (If it’s too tepid, add some ice.)
- Add shrimp and brine for 45 minutes.
- When shrimp is thawed, drain and rinse thoroughly to remove excess saltiness.
- Peel and devein the shrimp, reserving the shells. (If not boiling shrimp right away, keep cool on ice.)
- Place the shells along with a handful of shrimp and crab boil* in some cheese cloth, tie it up and add to a heavy pot large enough to hold the shrimp.
- Cut a lemon in half, squeeze the juice in the pot and add the lemon halves as well.
- Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for about 20-30 minutes.
- Add the shrimp, cover and remove from heat and let sit for no more than 8 minutes. Longer cooking results in tough, rubbery shrimp.
- Remove shrimp to an ice water bath to stop the cooking.
- Pat the shrimp dry and keep cool over ice.
* I prefer the shrimp and crab boil from Penzey’s Spices; however, it may be easier for you to find Zatarain’s from New Orleans.
Note: You can hold the cool, dry shrimp in a large seal-able bag to which you can add smaller bags filled with ice.
- Lettuce torn into smaller pieces
- Enough cooked shrimp for your diners
- Remoulade dressing (recipe follows)
- Interesting garnishes such as: baby corn, pickles, radishes. sliced hard-boiled egg or assorted pickled vegetables.
Remoulade dressing: This is based on a white remoulade that I adapted from the Gumbo Shop in New Orleans.
- ½ cup mustard – Creole or Dijon
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup minced green bell pepper
- ¼ cup minced celery
- 1 – 2 teaspoons onion juice (Grate onion with a zester)
- 1 – 2 tablespoons chili sauce such as Heinz
- Create a bed of lettuce
- Cover with shrimp and whatever garnish ingredients you have gathered
- Dribble with some of the dressing, serving the remainder on the side.
Enjoy with a crispy baguette of French sourdough.
About the Author (Author Profile)
Music, food and photography are at the center of Charles’ life. He performed with the Dallas Symphony, Dallas Opera and was assistant principal bassoonist with the Fort Worth Symphony for more than 20 years. When Charles and Victor moved to Baltimore, Charles created Lone Star Personal Chef and Catering Service and taught cooking classes at Williams-Sonoma. Now in Salem, Charles is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Mountain West Real Estate, taught cooking classes for children at the A.C. Gilbert Discovery Village, and owns and operates Charles Price Photography. Charles and Vic enjoy entertaining and frequently host dinners as fundraisers for local non-profits and charities