I learned a lot of things in college, but cooking was not one of them. I am guilty of eating canned soup, boxed mac and cheese, peanut butter and jelly on crackers and whatever I could get my hands on in the cafeteria during my collegiate days. I was too busy memorizing physics equations and deriving math theorems (which sounds mind-numbing but I actually enjoyed it!) to care about where my next meal was coming from. Fast-forward to now, I spend most of my time cooking, meal planning, grocery shopping, blogging about and thinking about food. Food has become one of the most important things in my life. It saturates every aspect of who I am. Thankfully, I am friends with and related to people who share a similar passion for food. So when I have get-togethers with my friends or family, I never have to worry about whether there is going to be good food involved. There is always good food…
For my friend Christina’s (pic below, middle) birthday last Sunday, she wanted to have a little beach bonfire potluck at sunset. Each person brought something to share, and between the ten of us, there were some gooooood dishes. I decided to make this shrimp salad because it had been a crowd-pleaser at one of our craft-club soirees this summer (hold back your chuckles). When I told the birthday girl what I planned to bring to the bonfire, she was so happy and admitted that she had wanted me to bring this shrimp salad but felt bashful in making the request for it. This salad is amazing and amazingly easy to make. Most shrimp salads employ the method of boiling the shrimp while this one calls for the shrimp to be roasted in the oven, which imparts way more flavor. With the addition of orange zest, capers and dill, this ain’t your mama’s mayonnaise-laden shrimp salad. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
Roasted Shrimp Salad (courtesy of Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa)
- 2 1/2 pounds (12 to 15 count) shrimp
- 1 tablespoon good olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup good mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon orange zest (2 oranges)
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 tablespoon good white wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup minced fresh dill
- 2 tablespoons capers, drained
- 2 tablespoons small-diced red onion
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Peel and devein the shrimp. Place them on a sheet pan with the olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and toss together. Spread the shrimp on one layer and roast for 6 to 8 minutes, just until pink, firm and cooked through. Allow to cool for 3 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the sauce. In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, orange zest, orange juice, vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
When the shrimp are cool, add them to the sauce and toss. Add the dill, capers, and red onion and toss well. The flavors will improve if you allow the salad to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Otherwise, chill and serve at room temperature.
Note 1: They didn’t have 12 to 15 count shrimp at my fish counter at Henry’s. Plus, that size shrimp may run you close to $20 a pound, and honestly, a 12 to 15 count shrimp is more than a mouthful. I went with ones that were caught closer to San Diego (Baja Mexico versus Thailand) and that were already deveined. If you want to take an hour to peel and devein 2.5 pounds of shrimp, be my guest. I think the ones I used were 26 to 30 count and were on sale for $6.99 a pound.
Note 2: Don’t feel the need to use all of the mayo sauce right off the bat. I usually hold some back, let the shrimp hang out in the refrigerator, and then if I feel like they need more sauce before serving, I’ll add the rest.