Bit of a pickle

Paige Fowler Bellamy went to law school with us.  She was in our wedding. She just called me this afternoon and said, and I quote, “Will you send me your marinated shrimp recipe before Thanksgiving or put it on your blog?”

She meant pickled shrimp a/k/a pickled swimps.

They are a standard.  Her timing …wow….I took them to my in-laws last night to share with cousins in town for a wedding.

Paige raved about them on the phone.  Forty minutes of raving on speaker phone with peels of laughter with me and Mary Perrin.

Ain’t no friends like old friends.

For Cindy P from Possum T.

Why do you people persist?


Pickled Shrimp

3 lbs medium shrimp

2 medium yellow onions sliced paper thin

4 lemons

2 limes

1/2 c white vinegar

1 tbsp salt

1 tbsp black pepper corns

2 tbsp celery seed

1 tbsp mustard seed

1/4 c olive oil

1 jar capers…not the really big ones

Bay leaves

Old Bay Seasoning

Beer – 12 oz can

Fill a 4-5 quart pot about 2/3 full with water and a couple tablespoons Old Bay and a 12 oz beer. I never measure the Old Bay. Bring to a full rolling boil.   Add shrimp and cook for 4 minutes; it’s ok if it doesn’t reboil.  Drain in colander.  They will keep cooking as they cool.  Let cool completely and peel…devein if you must. Nothing is worse than mealy, overcooked swimps.

While shrimp are cooling, peel and slice the onions paper thin.  Juice two of the lemons and limes.  Slice the other two lemons paper thin.  To the lemon and lime juice, add salt, pepper corns, mustard seed, celery seed, vinegar, olive oil, and jar of capers with the brine from the jar.  Stir to combine. I use a whisk.

After shrimp have been cooled and peeled, in an air tight container, place a layer of onion slices, lemon slices, 4 or 5 Bay leaves, and shrimp. Repeat until all onion, lemon, Bay leaves and shrimp are in the container.

Pour lemon juice mixture/marinade over all and seal.  Turn over a few times to make sure there’s some of the liquid coating all the shrimp and onions. Refrigerate overnight. While in the fridge, turn over the container a few times or stir with a slotted spoon.

To serve, using a slotted spoon, place in a bowl. Not silver. The salt and acid cause the silver to pit.

No garnishes needed.

Serve as an appetizer with toothpicks and let everyone stab swimps and onions as she or he sees fit.


Don’t skimp on the salt.

Use fresh lemons and limes.

If you can, use fresh Bay leaves

We have a Bay plant in our yard. Old timey Bay leaves (Roman laurel) can be found in a lot of Lowcountry yards.

Laurus nobilis…in our back yard

I never count the Bay leaves used. Mine are right off the branch and are so bright and green.

This can be doubled, tripled, quadrupled.

It’s perfect on Christmas Eve.

Talking to Paige, I said, “Why you want my pickled swimps? There are recipes for it in every cookbook I own.”

Her reply, “We must own different cookbooks.”



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