One of my wife’s favorite sandwiches is a shrimp salad sandwich. As a chef, my first thoughts turn to a light buttery flaky croissant for my sandwich and presentation. But my wife will have none of that and wants her shrimp salad on deli-style rye bread.
But any way you serve it, I promise rave reviews from the shrimp salad!
What ingredients do I need to make restaurant-style shrimp salad?
Let’s start by gathering our ingredients. In chef speak this is called the mise en place. The key ingredient to making restaurant-style shrimp salad is the shrimp and that’s where most people will fail.
What Kind of Shrimp should I use?
Since shrimp is the star of the dish you want to make sure you buy the best shrimp you can.
- Shrimp is either wild-caught or farmed. My first choice is always Gulf or Pacific shrimp from American waters. Farmed shrimp will be less expensive but can be a poor choice depending upon how responsible the farms are run.
- Shrimp sized under 30 per pound will have the best flavor profile and offer the best value. Small shrimp won’t have as much flavor, they are really a waste of money. My choice for shrimp salad is 26-30 sized. I use Under 15 count and 16 -20 count for shrimp cocktail and cooking.
- Shrimp get their color from what they eat. Brown shrimp will have a higher concentration of iodine and a more mineral flavor. Pink and White shrimp are generally sweeter.
- Almost all shrimp are frozen before being transported. If you see them thawed in a supermarket they were originally frozen.
- Avoid buying peeled and deveined shrimp. Cleaning the shrimp before freezing may cause a loss of flavor and texture.
- Frozen or thawed cooked shrimp that are frequently sold in local supermarkets are not a good choice. They won’t have much flavor and the texture of precooked shrimp gets worse the longer they stay thawed.
If you have a question about the sustainability and quality of seafood check the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch.
How do I thaw frozen shrimp?
Start by thawing the shrimp in cold running water. You can also leave them in a covered bowl overnight in your fridge to thaw.
How long should I cook the shrimp?
When the shrimp are fully thawed place them into boiling water with one tablespoon of Old Bay Seasoning.
Let the shrimp cook until the water comes back to a boil up to 5-6 minutes for 26-30 sized shrimp. Larger shrimp will take 1-2 minutes longer.
When the shrimp are done cooking, remove them from the pan and place the cooked shrimp into a large bowl or container filled partway with ice.
How do I make Restaurant-Style shrimp salad?
After cooking and chilling, the next step is to peel and devein the shrimp. The next step is to rough cut the shrimp, but don’t cut the pieces too small. You’re buying good shrimp and you want your guests to see nice big chunks of shrimp.
In a large mixing bowl add all the ingredients together and mix well. Chill the mixture for one hour before serving. This will the flavors time to build.
If there’s any leftover on day two you’ll find the shrimp salad bursting with flavor. The mayonnaise may look a little runny, but the flavor will make up for the appearance.
If you love seafood, you may always like these recipes:
- Clams and Linguine
- Lobster fra Diavolo
- Clams Casino
- Quick and Easy Steamed Mussels
- New Zealand Mussels served 5 ways