This is wonderful on a hot day. And there are still have a few hot days around. This is a riff on the shrimp salad my mother used to make. She used canned shrimp, because we didn’t get much fresh or frozen shrimp in the Northern Plains back in the day. But, we’ve come a long way baby. Now you can get shrimp anytime in the freezer section. I still prefer to purchase it uncooked shrimp and cook it myself. I think it has better flavor and texture, but in a pinch, the frozen, cooked shrimp works, too.
This is a mix-it-up-in-one-bowl sort of meal. My mother would put this salad together at least 2 hours before she was planning on serving it. Mother would dice up iceberg lettuce and fold that into the salad, but just before serving. The crunch is wonderful, but if you have leftovers, it’s bound to be very watery and that’s rather unpleasant. She usually added sliced hard-boiled eggs. I do like that, too. I think she used the eggs, because the chickens were laying and we had so many eggs, she wanted to use them up. It is good, though. Also, she used mayonnaise instead of the yogurt or sour cream, but I feel that is too heavy, particularly in hot weather. I don’t mind a half mayo, half yogurt combination, and I think the consistency might even be a bit better with that combo. Use whatever you prefer, but that’s not what I was feeling tonight.
I pour the peas into the salad unthawed. They’ll thaw within a few minutes and it just brightens everything up. There were times when mother added diced water chestnuts, which I always liked. I added diced radishes as a replacement, but feel free to used the water chestnuts (or diced hearts of palm), if you prefer.
Now, all you need is a nice, crisp white wine, some good bread or crackers and dinner is ready and waiting.
Summer Shrimp Salad
- 1 lb. cooked shrimp, cut into pieces (about the size of dice)
- 1/2 cup finely diced celery (I used Chinese celery—see NOTE)
- 1 Persian cucumber, diced
- 3 scallions, chopped
- 2-3 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro
- 1/2 cup frozen petit peas, unthawed
- 3 radishes, finely diced (optional)
- Grated zest of 1 lime or lemon or 1/2 an orange
- 1-2 teaspoons honey
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked sweet or hot paprika
Creamy Wasabi Dressing:
- 1/2 cup Greek-style yogurt or sour cream (or mayonnaise)
- 2-3 teaspoons reconstituted wasabi powder (see NOTE)
- 2-3 teaspoons fresh lime or lemon juice
- Shredded romaine lettuce for service (see NOTE)
- Sumac, chile threads or chile flakes for garnish
In a large bowl, combine all the salad ingredients; toss. In a small bowl, combine all the dressing ingredients. Pour over the salad. Let stand for at least 15 minutes before serving. Put a good handful of the shredded romaine on each plate. Place a portion of the shrimp mixture on top. Garnish and serve.
NOTE: Chinese celery has very thin ribs and proportionately more leaves than regular celery. It is also slightly milder and doesn’t seem to have any bitterness. It is available at Asian markets, but you can use a celery heart, including plenty of leaves, if you can’t find the Asian variety. If you wish, add 3-4 sliced hard-boiled eggs to the salad. To reconstitute wasabi powder, mix it with an equal amount of cold water, stir and let the mixture sit for a few minutes; add to the yogurt. If you prefer, omit the wasabi all together. If you are serving this as a main course, you may wish to very coarsely chop the romaine and just fold it into the salad, but if you think there may be leftover salad, then omit the romaine from the salad and serve the shrimp mixture on a bed of romaine. Leftovers won’t be too soggy that way.
Summer Shrimp Salad Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2016. All rights reserved.
Feel free to cut the kernels from an ear of leftover cooked corn on the cob and add those. You could add some diced chiles. There are all sorts of good options, including some diced mango or peaches. Whatever you decide, this is a very refreshing dinner on a steamy hot day and you didn’t even have to heat up the kitchen!