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~Puttin' on the Ritz, Retro Salad-Shrimp Dip Revisited~

IMG_8315Pretty in pink, tiny salad shrimp are sweet, tender and adorable.  Once upon a time, people bought them packed in cans (similar to tuna).  That's ok.  That's how things were done before flash freezing came along, followed by freezer- trucks and train-cars criss-crossing our country.  It was also before in-home refrigerators had an ample freezer section and households started investing in chest- or stand-type freezers.  When my mom got her freezer IT was a very big deal. When frozen salad shrimp became available to her, she never bought the canned shrimp again.

Americans love shrimp.

IMG_8288Shrimp, "the fruit of the sea", is America's favorite seafood.

IMG_8252When it comes to shrimp, while big is always better served in a shrimp cocktail, when making deep-fried shrimp, and, in specialty dishes like firecracker shrimp, that's just not so when it comes to making shrimp dip or shrimp salad.  Interestingly, small shrimp are sweeter, and, when mixed into a shrimp dip or shrimp salad, the extra flavor is important. There's more.  Extra-small shrimp, also known as "salad shrimp", are seriously easy to work with. They're fully-cooked and flash-frozen, and, they thaw under cold running water (in a colander) in 8-10 minutes.

My Mom's circa 1960's-style Salad-Shrimp Dip: 

IMG_82598-ounces Philadelphia cream cheese, at room temp, very soft

1/2  cup Hellman's mayonnaise

1/4 cup Heinz chili sauce

1  teaspoon Lea & Perrin's Worcestershire sauce

1/2  teaspoon high-quality, not from concentrate, lemon juice

1  teaspoon dehydrated  minced onion

1/4  teaspoon each:  celery seed and ground cayenne pepper

12  ounces salad shrimp

IMG_8260 IMG_8260~ Step 1.  To thaw the shrimp, place the frozen shrimp in a colander in the sink.  Run cold water through them for 3-5 minutes.  Set aside for 3-5 minutes, or, a minute or two longer if necessary. Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate and pat dry.

IMG_8266 IMG_8266 IMG_8266 IMG_8266~Step 2.  Place the thawed shrimp in the work bowl of a medium-size food processor fitted with the steel blade.  Using a series of 10-12 rapid on-off pulses, mince the shrimp.  Do not over process.  Using a large rubber spatula, scrape down the sides of the processor work bowl.

IMG_8277 IMG_8277 IMG_8277~ Step 3.  Add all remaining ingredients: cream cheese, mayo, chili sauce, lemon  juice, dehydrated onion, celery seed and cayenne pepper.  With motor running, process until smooth, 20-30 seconds.  Transfer to a food storage container and refrigerate, 1 hour or overnight*, to allow the flavors time to marry.

*Note:  Dip that has been refrigerated for several hours or overnight will thicken slightly.  That said, worry not.  The mayonnaise and chili sauce keep it luxuriously smooth and spreadable.

Pretty in pink, sweet & tender & luxuriously wonderful:

IMG_8318Puttin' on the Ritz, Retro Salad-Shrimp Dip Revisited: Recipe yields 2 1/2 cups.

Special Equipment List:  colander; paper towels; medium-size food processor; rubber spatula; food storage container w/tight fitting lid

6a0120a8551282970b01b7c7f32485970bCook's Note: How does shrimp sizing work?  In a shrimp shell -- it doesn't.  There is no industry standard for it. One vendor's medium, may be another vendor's extra-large and vice versa.  This explains why many new-to-shrimp buying cooks are confused by these seven words:  extra-small, small, medium, large, extra-large, jumbo, colossal.  When purchasing shrimp, the most important words to know aren't words at all, they are numbers: ~ Purchase Shrimp by their Count, not by their Size ~.

"We are all in this food world together."  ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2020)


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