Pickled shrimp have long been a favorite dish for alfresco occasions and lend a little touch of refinement to even the most modest events. Strictly speaking, the shrimp aren’t pickled, they’re simply marinated, infused with a tart pungency that works well on a warm afternoon or evening.
I recommend a larger count shrimp, nothing smaller than a 26/30, though a 21/25 is ideal. Boil the shrimp in the usual manner, taking care not to overcook them, peel and if you’re the persnickety type, devein. For five pounds of shrimp, slice two onions and combine in a bowl with five bay leaves, a cup of sweet diced red pickled peppers, a cup of white vinegar a cup of vegetable oil (or a light olive oil), three tablespoons capers with liquid, a tablespoon each crushed celery and dill seed and coarsely ground black pepper. I often add a couple of diced ripe summer tomatoes. Toss until shrimp are coated, cover and chill overnight.
It’s fashionable these days to serve pickled shrimp in Mason jars, but such a wonderful old Southern classic as this deserves a better presentation. Spoon over leaf greens and drizzle with marinade..