An appetizer to sigh for

  • Friday, March 28, 2014

I’ve never met a shrimp I didn’t like. Boiled and topped with Jim’s “World’s Best Sauce,” in gumbo, over grits – anyway you can name – ah! But at a recent family potluck, I was introduced to a succulent marinated shrimp appetizer which can also appear as a salad or be served over pasta. In fact it’s so good; it can star in any culinary presentation.

It was brought to the party by our daughter Cathy and her husband Todd. Cathy adapted it from Entertaining at the College of Charleston, by Zoe Sanders. Cathy and Todd are both C of C alums. Mrs. Sanders, wife of a former C of C president, Alex Sanders, credited this recipe to Diane Jordan Chastain, who came up with it to entertain the Archbishop of Canterbury and his wife. If that’s not a good enough recommendation, I don’t know what is.

In her book, Mrs. Sanders says this marinade was served at most of the large parties at the college during their tenure. She also defines this lovely tome, filled with pictures, text and recipes, as her effort to enhance her goal for the college “to live up to Charleston’s fine and rich culinary heritage of entertaining.” To my mind, she has more than exceeded that aim.

So get out your 3-gallon pot, and get going.

Marinated Shrimp

1½ quarts water

1½ teaspoons salt

1 bay leaf

2½ pounds medium shrimp, unpeeled

Bring salt water and bay leaf to a boil on high. Add shrimp and return to full boil. Boil for 2 to 3 minutes or till the shrimp turns pink. Drain in a colander; sprinkle lightly and quickly with cold water, as using too much cold water takes away flavor. Spread on baking sheet to stop further cooking. Peel when cool enough to handle.


½ pound medium-size fresh mushrooms, washed and quartered

1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered

1 2-ounce jar capers, drained

1 jumbo sweet onion, thinly sliced

2 lemons, extremely thinly sliced*

3-gallon glass or plastic container with lid


1½ packages Good Seasons Italian Dressing Mix

½ cup vegetable oil

6 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

4 tablespoons water

1½ teaspoons prepared creamed horseradish

To Assemble: Layer mushrooms, artichoke hearts, capers, onions and lemons in 3-gallon container and pour marinade over all. Refrigerate overnight, turning container upside down an shaking it at least 4 times.

An hour before serving, add shrimp and toss several times. When ready to serve, drain and arrange in a glass bowl or platter. Serve with toasted crostini, or crackers. Many people eat it with their fingers from a small plate. You could also place skewers and a small plate for used skewers near shrimp.

*Note: Cathy says it’s important to slice the lemons as thinly as possible, because you’ll find yourself eating everything including the lemon rind, as this marinade is so good.

I got this book from Cathy and Todd as a birthday present 11 years ago and it’s very well thumbed, underlined and marked, as most of my best cookbooks are. Other shrimp recipes in here include barbecued, Greek, boiled with crab, as well as served with gravy, orzo and in salad. Yum!

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