I've been reading The Pat Conroy Cookbook, and let me tell you it is a great read. But at a later time; first: my story.
I was home (in BC) for Mother's Day. I was walking to my parents' house from my in-laws' house when I saw a woman wandering around the yard in a conical straw hat and a surgical mask. She was asking if anyone wanted to buy shrimp--her husband had been out on the boat that morning, and she had a pickup bed full of ice chests. I had to weigh my sister Peetie's warnings about botulism against $5.50/lb.
So I drove home with two adults, two kids, a yellow lab, 20 pounds of shrimp on ice and three buckets of iris bulbs from my mom packed into the Ford Escape. Man, I love my car.
The good news is that I haven't died yet--so far it seems that the shrimp are fine. And last weekend I finally got to make pickled shrimp.
Pickled shrimp are evidently a Low Country thing, but they need to be an everywhere-people-sell-shrimp-out-of-their-pickups thing, because they are delicious. I made took them to the swim meet on Saturday, which you might optimistically call a picnic but is actually more like sitting in a damn sauna for six hours. So yeah, serve chilled, with Lay's potato chips, frozen grapes and iced tea.
Adapted from The Pat Conroy Cookbook by Pat Conroy and Suzanne Williamson Pollak
1 onion, thinly sliced
4 bay leaves, crushed
One 2 oz. bottle capers, drained and coarsely chopped [Go ahead and add in the juice, too.]
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice [I put the spent lemon halves in the jar with the rest of the mix.]
1 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic [I interpreted this as "one clove garlic, peeled and smashed."]
1 teaspoon coarse or kosher salt
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 pounds large (21-25 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined
Mix all ingredients except the shrimp in a large heatproof glass or ceramic bowl.
In a stockpot over high heat, bring 4 quarts abundantly salted water to a rolling boil. Add the shrimp and cook until just pink, about 2 minutes. (The shrimp will continue to "cook" in the marinade). [For real, 2 minutes is all it takes.] Drain and immediately toss in the marinade.
Bring to room temperature, cover tightly, and marinate overnight in the refrigerator. Serve chilled.