In favor of pickled shrimp

I didn’t know about pickled shrimp until I moved to the South. Yes, the idea of ‘pickling’ a shrimp sounds less than appetizing (and I love me some pickles), but really it’s more of a marinade than straight up pickling. These things are embarrassingly easy to make and have a scary way of vanishing fast. I have to hide them in the back of the fridge while they marinate or they magically disappear before the party even starts. These also make a great food gift. Pack them in a Mason jar, tie on a pretty ribbon, and make someone’s day!

This recipe calls for white balsamic vinegar. I get mine from my local Trader Joe’s, but I’ve seen it at big grocery stores, too. If you can’t find any, only rice wine vinegar would be an appropriate substitute. Any other vinegar will overpower the delicate taste of the shrimp.

1-1/2 lb. shrimp, peeled, with tail left on if you like

1/3 cup olive oil

1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar

1 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

2 Tbsp. grated lemon zest

1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper

1 tsp. hot sauce

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add shrimp and cook until shrimp curl and turn pink, about 2-3 minutes. Drain shrimp and rinse under cold water to stop cooking process.

In a large bowl, combine all other ingredients, mixing well. Add cooled shrimp and toss to coat. Marinate at least 1 hour and up to 8. Serve chilled.

Sometimes, if I am feeling formal, I drain the shrimp and serve them on pretty lettuce leaves as an appetizer. For casual get togethers, I serve them in a pretty bowl with a stack of crusty bread for soaking up the tangy marinade. Either way, they’ll be a hit!

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