- Prep time 15 minutes
- Cook time 10 minutes
- Serves 4
Too often, shrimp salad is gloppy with mayonnaise, masking the verve for which shrimp deserve appreciation. Their flavor is mild, we can all agree. But with some gentle handling and choice aromatics, shrimp impart a wonderful texture, tender enough to make you swoon. Some of the sweet shrimpy poaching liquid gets added to the punchy dressing; save the rest to make pearl couscous or my wheat berry salad. The secret is to let the shrimp steep only long enough for their outsides to become opaque, then transfer them to a shallow bowl to cool—easy-peasy and impossible to overcook. My favorite way to serve this shrimp salad piled onto toast with buttery avocado. You could also toss the shrimp with a short pasta such as fusilli or ditalini, or serve it with herbed buttery potatoes, Scandinavian style. Heads up: Eat the salad in one sitting, as the citrus will toughen the shrimp as time passes.
fresh or dried bay leaves
strips lemon peel
1 1/2 teaspoons
kosher salt, divided
1 1/2 pounds
packed dill fronds, chopped
small red onion, thinly sliced
extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons
Finely grated zest from 1 large lemon
plus 1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 1/2 large lemon)
slices of sourdough bread, toasted
large avocado, pitted and sliced
- Peel and de-vein the shrimp, saving the shells. Rinse the deveined shrimp under cold water in a colander.
- Arrange the bay leaves, lemon peels, parsley stems, and peppercorns on a piece of muslin or cheesecloth. Pile the shrimp shells on top and tie the bundle with kitchen twine.
- Place the bundle in a large saucepan. Add 3 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of salt. Set over high heat. When the liquid is just shy of boiling, remove the pan from the heat. Use tongs to lift the aromatics bundle, then add the shrimp. Gently press them to submerge, then add back the aromatics bundle and press it down. Let the shrimp steep for about 4 minutes, stirring the shrimp halfway through, just the outsides turn pink and opaque. Use a slotted spoon to pluck out the shrimp and transfer them to a shallow bowl to cool. Squeeze the aromatics bundle of any residual liquid and discard, and reserve the poaching liquid.
- In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, fish sauce, lemon zest and juice, cayenne, and remaining ½ teaspoon of salt. Whisk until emulsified. Add the red onion and dill to the shrimp, then pour the dressing over top, plus 2 tablespoons of poaching liquid. Toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Serve piled onto toast with sliced avocado.