Cajun Shrimp Salad
FUN CAJUN FRIDAY Series post number 2! I hope you’re all liking the series. I have so many recipes. I actually have a family cookbook that has a funny story behind it. As you may know by now Husbee is from New Orleans. His family both father’s side mother’s have owned restaurants dating way back. Husbee’s grandfather owned several but probably the most notable was The Andrew Jackson in the French Quarter. Husbee was very close to his grandfather as all the cousins were and he pretty much grew up having the run of the restaurant. He would sneak around at times stealing the patted butter on each white table cloth covered table and eating it by the mouthful! On his father’s side was a very, very large cajun seafood restaurant chain that was sold by his father years ago. One of the things we loved was the seafood gumbo and he would ask and ask his father for the recipe. Oddly enough he was always told that it was a restaurant secret. Fast forward in time many years and we were at a friends house who is also from New Orleans but now also lives in our area. The wife jumped up and said “Hey, I’ve got something to show you! Have you ever seen these people?” and she pulled out a very old cookbook with a painting on the front by a well known New Orleans artist, George Rodrigue (his most recognizable work is The Blue Dog painting). Low and behold it was the family cookbook with the picture being his grandmother and grandfather in front of their first restaurant!
It turns out this friend’s mom sent her, from time to time, old cookbooks she would find in the French Quarter. And guess what was in it (among many other things)…the famous and super secret seafood gumbo recipe! Score us!!! Unfortunately I am not prepared to share the gumbo recipe but Fun Cajun Friday’s will have a plethora of recipes from “the family cookbook”. The first of which is a Cajun Shrimp Salad. Now, the reason I tell this story about the gumbo and the cookbook is because to make a gumbo of seafood you need a seafood or shrimp stock. Shrimp normally only need a very quick boil, however you won’t get a very tasty stock with just a quick boil. So when making gumbo I always buy a few pounds of small shrimp and boil them like crazy to get a good shrimp stock flavor. Boiling with heads on is the best but if you’re land locked the way I am you almost never see head on shrimp. Instead of throwing them out I make shrimp salad ever time with those boiled shrimp!
The ingredients are fairly simple. There’s nothing too difficult to get your hands on. Among the ingredients are the holy trinity in cajun cooking which consists of bell pepper, celery and onion. Ok. I HATE onions with such passion it is unspeakable but that doesn’t mean if you like them not to use them. I’m sure if you like onions, you would miss them if left out. I DO NOT.
I use all kinds of bell pepper because I like the confetti look of it plus the colors other than green give you to most antioxidants…and we all know we need those!
This is my adaptation of the cookbook recipe:
- 2 pounds boiled shrimp
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise (I always use the olive oil based mayo-best to get as much healthy fats as possible, right?)
- 3/4 cup chopped green onions (I omitted and just sprinkled on top so that I can pick them out easily)
- 3/4 chopped mixed bell pepper
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 4 hard boiled eggs, chopped
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/8-1/4 teaspoon Cayenne (adjust to your taste)
- 1/4-1/2 Tony Chachere’s
I pulse the shrimp in my food processor (or you could hand chop as well) just a few times so that they aren’t whole. Mix together all ingredients and serve with crackers. Simple and a great snack or even lunch to make up a batch and throw in fridge for people to pick on.
What’s your favorite salad to make?