I don’t know why or how, but until I lived in Charleston, SC I’d never experienced the delight of dining on Lowcountry Shrimp Salad. Honestly, I don’t think I’d even seen shrimp salad before. As a kid, growing up in New England, my first seafood choice was always anything lobster, so I guess the poor little shrimp dishes had a chance to make it on my menu.
We moved to Charleston on a bit of whim. We wanted a bit of a change from South Florida, and what a delightful change it was. We lived just a few minutes from downtown so we had the best of both worlds.
If you aren’t familiar with the area, Charleston has some of the best eats in the country. You can find fresh, local, farm-to-table restaurants, one of my favorite green markets on Saturdays in Marion Square, and you can buy shrimp and other seafood right off the docks at Shem Creek. If you get to Shem Creek at the right time of day, you might even see pods of Dolphins swimming along looking for scraps from the shrimp boats. (If you go go kayaking there they’ll swim right up next to you. It’s such a fun experience!) There are so many awesome places to eat (and things to do) in Charleston it’s really a food lover’s dream.
While living in Charleston, I came upon something close to this version of Lowcountry Shrimp Salad and tried to recreate as best I could. I’m not sure anymore how close it is to the one I originally sampled, but it’s definitely shrimply scrumptious.
- 2 lbs. large, local, wild caught shrimp
- Olive Oil Spray
- 2 Teaspoons Garlic Salt
- 1 Tablespoon (or more) Blackened Seasoning
- 1 small red pepper, finely chopped
- 2-3 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup, + 1 Tablespoon good quality mayo (I use Duke's)
- Sriracha (to taste)
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- Devein and shell the shrimp. Line a baking sheet with foil and spritz an olive oil spray layer, evenly covering the foil. In a single layer, place the shrimp on the pan, then sprinkle with the garlic salt and blackened seasoning. Bake in oven for about 10 minutes or until the shrimp is completely pink. Be careful not to overcook.
- Remove from the oven, set the pan aside and let the shrimp cool completely.
- While the shrimp is cooling, chop the celery and red pepper. I slice the stalk of celery lengthwise a few times to make sure it will be small pieces when you chop. Make sure both the pepper and celery are finely chopped.
- When cooled, roughly chop the shrimp (I cut about four chunks per shrimp). Place the shrimp in a large bowl, add the chopped celery and red pepper. Mix in the mayo, then a couple of teaspoons of Sriracha (you can add more or less according to taste). Stir to evenly distribute. Chill in refrigerator until ready to serve.
- You can serve this on a nice baguette or to cut some carbs, I like to scoop out a yellow tomato, lightly salt the inside then pile a scoop of the shrimp salad inside.
- If you can't get local shrimp, make sure it's at least wild caught, and from the US.
- For the celery, I buy the organic celery hearts, so they are shorter than the full stalk of celery. So if you use a regular stalk, just use 2.
You can also cook the shrimp with the shells on, just make sure you devein them first.
The blackened seasoning I like to use I picked up in New Orleans, but you can use any brand you like.
Make sure your celery and red pepper are finely chopped. They should add texture to your salad but not overwhelm the size of the shrimp.
I’ve mentioned before my love of Duke’s Mayo. I’m in no way sponsored by Duke’s…I just like to share what I like. The taste is super smooth and creamy, and not chemicalish, (I know it isn’t a word- but, that’s how other mayos taste to me).
If you don’t want to spend the money buying deveined and shelled shrimp, you can always grab one of these handy dandy fellas. They’re cheap and easy to use, which means you get more shrimp salad for your money.
I like to serve the shrimp salad in a scooped out yellow tomato. You should be able to find yellow tomatoes at most supermarkets and they are great in this dish. I like that they are less acidic, and quite often a better flavor.
How would you serve up your lowcountry shrimp salad?