Three Citrus-Pickled Shrimp

By • January 12, 2012 • 4 Comments

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Author Notes: This recipe is a mish-mash of favorite elements from Robert Stehling and The Lee Brothers, plus my own additions. I’ve tinkered a lot with it, finding a base of equal parts lemon, orange and grapefruit juice to be my favorite. Although vinegar and sugar are common in pickle marinades, I prefer to omit them to let the bright, citrus flavors shine. To the marinade, I like adding shallot, garlic, fennel seed, bay leaf and cayenne to complement the citrus. You can get wild and add other components, but I find that these are the important ones and all you really need. I like serving these as a simple appetizer from a shallow, wide-mouth canning jar with tooth picks. Or you serve them as a canapé with smashed avocado on toast ( EmilyC

Serves 8

  • 2 T Old Bay or other shrimp boil seasoning
  • 1 pound medium shrimp (about 32 to 36 count), shelled and deveined
  • ¼ cup fresh orange juice + finely minced zest (from 1 orange)
  • ¼ cup fresh grapefruit juice (from 1 grapefruit)
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice (from 1 to 2 lemons)
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 1 large bay leaf, torn into several pieces
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seed, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  1. To a large pot of water, add Old Bay seasoning. (I find a ratio of 2 T Old Bay to 1/2 gallon of water works well.) Cover and bring to a boil. Add the shrimp and cook for about 1 minute. The shrimp will be pinkish-orange and will start to curl. Drain shrimp and lay in a single layer on a sheet pan or plate until they cool to room temperature. The shrimp won’t be fully cooked at this point, which is fine, because they’ll continue to cook in the marinade.
  2. In a bowl or sealable plastic bag, combine citrus juices and orange zest, shallot, garlic, bay leaf, fennel seed, olive oil, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon of cayenne (or more to taste). Add the shrimp and seal; refrigerate six hours or overnight. (The pickled shrimp should be consumed within about 24 hours from the time they're refrigerated or otherwise they'll turn mushy.)
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over 2 years ago Midge

EmilyC, I made this for a shower today and people raved. Much prefer your version to others!


over 2 years ago EmilyC

Midge, I'm so happy you tried and liked them! Thanks so much for letting me know.


about 3 years ago EmilyC

Thanks gluttonforlife, and that's a good question...I've always boiled the shrimp first, and I like the Old Bay flavoring the shrimp pick up during their short cook time. I'd love to know how they'd turn out without the boiling...and if you'd need to increase the pickling time and/or add a little vinegar for an extra boost of acid.


about 3 years ago gluttonforlife

This sounds divine! Sort of a Southern ceviche (In fact, I wonder if you could do this without the boiling?)