“When a good friend dies, I take two pounds of shrimp for the mourners. When a great friend dies, I go to five pounds. When I die, I fully expect all the shrimp in Beaufort to be pickled that day.”- Pat Conroy
So begins the entry for Pickled Shrimp in the Pat Conroy Cookbook.
His cookbook comes packed with delicious recipes as well as great stories. I talked about the book once before, here. And because I like it so much, I’m going to quote him again. Because I love this quote: how it makes me feel, and how I feel about it.
“When I refer to myself as Southern, I am talking about the part of myself that is most deeply human and deeply feeling. It is the part of me that connects most intimately and cordially with the family of humankind. There are qualities of grace and friendship and courtesy that will always seem essentially Southern to me, no matter where I encounter them on the road. Then I told my daughter that I never appreciated the South until I left it for the first time. And that the reason you travel is to find out who you really are and what you really believe.”
When my family arrived in Seattle from Arkansas for vacation, I went to the place that they would be staying with wine, cheese, cherries, crackers, and a mason jar filled with these shrimp. After a full day of flying, I knew they would want to sit down with a glass of wine and some snacks. The shrimp disappeared almost immediately and everyone raved about how flavorful they were.
I’m pretty sure these are my new favorite shrimp for parties and snacking.
The Pat Conroy Cookbook: Recipes and Stories of My Life by Pat Conroy
- 1 cup thinly sliced yellow onion
- 4 bay leaves, crumbled in your fingers
- 2 oz bottled capers, drained and coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 tsp garlic, minced
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp celery seeds
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Mix all ingredients in a large ceramic or glass bowl, except for the shrimp.
Heat a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water abundantly. When the water is rolling, add shrimp and cook until just pink- about 2 minutes. Drain and immediately transfer to the marinade. (The shrimp will continue to “cook” in the marinade.)
Bring shrimp to room temperature, cover tightly, and marinate overnight in the fridge. Transfer shrimp and marinade to a glass serving compote or bowl. Serve chilled.
Photographs by Jessica Yager.