I've got a thing for finger food. Or tapas. Small bites. Whatever you want to call them, I could easily have each and every party I throw be made up of teeny bites of this and that. And the bite I'm into right now are these Spicy Citrus Pickled Shrimp.
My latest finger food obsession hails from the South but dispels all the Southern food stereotypes because it’s really light and pretty healthy. Pickled shrimp are a classic in the Carolinas but,I’ve never been around those parts, so I hadn’t heard of them until recently. But, since I have more than a mild obsessions for all things pickled, I had to try this the minute I came across it. After a few rounds of pickling and some tweaks (inspired largely by an overzealous citrus tree), I came up with this really easy but ridiculously flavorful recipe.
(use less if you don't like things spicy)
or crackers, for serving
For the cooking liquid: Place 8 cups water in a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Quarter one of the onions then add it to the water along with 4 of the bay leaves, the cinnamon stick, the garlic cloves, the kosher salt, the peppercorns, and 1 teaspoon of the celery seeds. When it boils, remove from heat, add shrimp, and cook until they’re bright-pink and firm, about 2 minutes. Drain and rinse to prevent further cooking.
For the pickle: Place shrimp in a large nonreactive container or bowl. Thinly slice one lemon and quarter and thinly slice the remaining two onions. Add the lemon and onions to the container along with the orange juice, white wine vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, the remaining bay leaves, red pepper flakes, sugar, and remaining 1 teaspoon of celery seeds. Ad the shrimp and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 2 hours to overnight.
To serve: Just before serving, fold in the parsley. Serve with toothpicks or on crackers or chips.
Pickled shrimp are best eaten within 4 days.
Food styling and photography by Aida Mollenkamp