A healthy and delicious shrimp salad featuring 4 simple ingredients. This olive oil shrimp salad is my grandfathers’ recipe, lovingly made by my family every year for Christmas Eve. Perfect for an appetizer, or a light meal served with a green salad.
This post is sponsored by Vital Choice Wild Seafood and Organics, thank you for supporting the brands that support Abra’s Kitchen. As always all thoughts, opinions, recipes, and musings are my own.
Every day for the next week I will be sharing a healthy AND delicious seafood recipe that I know you will love!
Today we are going way back into the Pappa family archives to a recipe that has been savored and loved for generations. My Grampa’s Italian shrimp salad. This salad has been served every year for Christmas Eve for as long as I can remember.
Flavorful poached tender shrimp tossed with a very generous amount of olive oil, scallions, salt and pepper, and sometimes vinegar.
A family favorite, a party favorite, an appetizer table shining star. Make a double or triple batch because I guarantee this is the dish that will make you the hero of the holidays, also leftovers are LIFE!
INGREDIENTS YOU NEED TO MAKE ITALIAN OLIVE OIL SHRIMP SALAD
This is not the complete list but a highlight of the main ingredients used to make this recipe
- Wild Shrimp – I use 16-20 sized shrimp (shrimp are sized according to how many fit into a pound)
- Really good olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- (optional) Red wine vinegar
TOOLS YOU’LL NEED
- A cutting board
- A good knife
- A medium saucepan
- A wooden spoon
- A serving spoon
HOW TO POACH SHRIMP
This is key to a flavorful shrimp salad. When you have just a few simple ingredients you want to make sure to eek out flavor from every single morsel!
Prepare a poaching liquid with aromatics, I like to use onion, peppercorns, bay leaf, parsley, and lemon and a generous amount of salt.
Other Flavorful Additions to a Poaching Liquid:
- White wine
Allow the poaching liquid to come to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes to concentrate flavor. Return to a boil, add shrimp, cover, remove from heat and let shrimp stand in poaching liquid for 3 minutes or until cooked through.
HOW TO SOURCE GOOD QUALITY SHRIMP
I will write a much longer post this week on how to source quality seafood in general, but there are many considerations when purchasing shrimp:
- Is the shrimp wild or farmed?
- Is it fair trade certified?
- Has it been treated with chemical additives (this is a common practice for both wild and farmed fish)
There are some domestic shrimp farms that I would recommend, but international farmed shrimp I would not.
The New York Times article “What are We Supposed to Think About Shrimp” is a great starting point if you want to learn more about quality sourcing.
I buy my seafood from two places exclusively:
- Vital Choice – you can read every detail about their sourcing practices on their website. Not only do I trust the product, but I literally every piece of fish I’ve received from them has been extraordinary, including the wild shrimp that I used in this recipe.
- My local fishmonger – Once per week, we have a local fishmonger that has a stall at our farmers market. He fishes off of the coast of Long Island and brings his catch to market weekly. He never has salmon, nor should he as it isn’t found off the coast of Long Island, but he does sell a variety of fish and shellfish weekly.
TIPS TO MAKE HEALTHY ITALIAN SHRIMP SALAD
- Use good quality shrimp
- Peel and devein your shrimp (you can peel after you poach as the shells have a lot of flavor in them)
- Use very good quality olive oil – extra virgin, first cold press!
- Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary
- To Vinegar or Not– This is a highly debated topic in my family. My grandpa used red wine vinegar, at some point my family started using balsamic instead (I revolted), I started to prefer the salad with only olive oil and a small squeeze of lemon. My sister says the acid is necessary, I say try it without and then try a little bowl with and decide which you like better.
VARIATIONS ON ITALIAN OLIVE OIL SHRIMP SALAD
- Add other seafood; calamari, mussels, crab, and/or lobster
- Add slices of preserved lemon
- Add other herbs, oregano, dill, thyme
ITALIAN OLIVE OIL SHRIMP SALAD
A healthy and delicious shrimp salad featuring 4 simple ingredients. Perfect for an appetizer, or a light meal.
- 1 lb. wild shrimp peeled and deveined
- 1/4 cup scallion white and green parts, sliced
- 1/3 cup good olive oil
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar (optional)
- lemon for serving
- 1/2 onion
- 2 bay leaf
- 10-15 peppercorns
- generous salt
- 1/2 head parsley
POACH THE SHRIMP
Prepare the poaching liquid: fill a small stockpot with water, add 1/2 onion (whole), parsley, peppercorns, bay leaf, and lemon/ squeeze the liquid from the lemon into the stockpot and throw the entire lemons into the water as well. Bring to a boil, season generously with salt (I use at least 1 tsp), reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Return to a rolling boil, add shrimp, cover pot, remove from heat, let stand until shrimp are cooked through about 3-4 minutes. Shrimp are cooked when they are pink, curled up, and no longer opaque.
MAKE THE SALAD
Remove the shrimp from the poaching liquid and chop into bite size pieces. Add to a bowl and immediately toss with scallions, olive oil, and salt. The shrimp should still be warm when you toss with the olive oil. Add vinegar if desired.
Place in the refrigerator and allow to chill. Serve with lemon wedges.
Will keep for 3-4 days in the refrigerator.
Why is vinegar optional:
This is a highly debated topic in my family. My grandfather always added a touch of vinegar but I tend to like it with just olive oil. The trick is that you have to use really good olive oil!
Try a small amount with vinegar and see if you like it!