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~ Creamy-Dreamy Old-Bay Shrimp Shell-Pasta Salad ~

IMG_8161This main-dish pasta salad is made by adding cooked and well-drained shell-shaped pasta to my mother's shrimp salad recipe.  It makes the perfect quick lunch or light supper.  Simply portion it into a shallow bowl atop a bed of crispy-crunchy lettuce leaves accompanied by a few tomato wedges and pour a glass of your favorite wine.  Add a slice of crusty rustic bread, a fancy-schmancy flakey croissant or a brioche roll slathered with butter and lunch or dinner is served.

Shrimp cocktail has been a traditional appetizer at my family's holiday gatherings and celebrations for as long as I can remember.  Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, bridal showers, baby showers, christenings, anniversary parties, etc. -- when my family celebrates, a big bowl or platter of perfectly-cooked jumbo shrimp with two-types of cocktail sauce (classic and creamy) are on the table when we start the festivities.  On occasion, we'd have some leftover.  Under the supervision of my mom, back into the refrigerator they went, so our family of four could all enjoy a shrimp salad sandwiches the next day.  Truth told, I'm convinced mom planned on the leftovers.

IMG_8118To many folks, Old Bay Seasoning represents the quintessential Summer seafood seasoning -- it really kicks the flavor up a few notches.  It’s the seasoning-of-choice on blue crabs, tossed into a bowl of peel n' eat shrimp, and in Maryland, they shake it on everything from fried chicken to sweet corn and some add it to their crab cakes and potato salad too. That said, whatever the season or the occasion, like mom, I can't resist adding it to her shrimp salad recipe.

Make & chill the spicy shrimp salad as directed.  Then add:

IMG_80416 cups my recipe for Spicy Old-Bay-Seasoned Shrimp Salad, well-chilled

6  ounces uncooked medium-sized shell pasta (about 2 cups)

2  teaspoons sea salt, for seasoning water for pasta

6  tablespoons high-quality mayonnaise, I use either Hellmann's or Duke's 

2  teaspoons Old Bay seasoning

2  teaspoon lemon juice, fresh or high-quality organic juice not-from-concentrate

2  teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1-1 1/2 cups torn iceberg or romaine lettuce leaves, for serving each portion

4-5  small Campari tomato wedges, for serving each portion 

IMG_8046 IMG_8051 IMG_8051 IMG_8056 IMG_8056 IMG_8064~Step 1.  In a 3-4-quart saucepan, bring 2 quarts of water to a boil.  Add the salt.  Add the pasta and cook, according to package directions, until al dente, 9-11 minutes.  Do not over cook the pasta. Drain pasta into a colander, rinse it thoroughly under cold running water (to remove excess starch and halt cooking process), then, spread it out onto a baking pan that has been lined with parchment paper.  Set aside for 10-15 minutes, to dry and cool, meaning:  dry free of excess moisture (not dry out), and, cool to room temperature.

IMG_8048 IMG_8048 IMG_8074 IMG_8076~Step 2.  While the pasta in draining and drying, in a small bowl, place and stir together the mayonnaise, Old Bay Seasoning, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce.  Transfer pasta to a medium bowl.  Add the mayonnaise mixture to the pasta.  Using a large rubber spatula, gently fold the mayonnaise mixture into the pasta, continuing to fold until the pasta is evenly coated. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill for 45-60 minutes.  

IMG_8082 IMG_8144 IMG_8144~ Step 3.  Remove the shrimp salad and the pasta mixture from the refrigerator. Transfer both mixtures to a large bowl. Using the rubber spatula, gently fold the two mixtures together.    Portion and serve on luncheon-sized plates or shallow bowls atop a bed of torn lettuce leaves accompanied by tomato wedges.

Serve atop lettuce leaves accompanied by tomato wedges:

IMG_8150Try my Spicy Old-Bay-Seasoned Shrimp Salad Sandwiches too:

IMG_8133Creamy-Dreamy Old-Bay Shrimp Shell-Pasta Salad:  Recipe yields 10 cups pasta salad.

Special Equipment List:  kitchen scale; 3-4-quart saucepan; colander; 12 1/2" x 8 3/4"; parchment paper; large rubber spatula

6a0120a8551282970b0240a502fd82200bCook's Note: Americans love shrimp.  Shrimp, the fruit of the sea, is America's favorite seafood.  When 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 many appetizers and hors d'oeuvres (shrimp dip,  shrimp salad, tea sandwiches, various canapés, etc.). Extra-small shrimp, also known as "salad shrimp", are sweet, tender and adorable, so, when serving fingerfood, think small, because the extra flavor is important.  Try my ~ Pretty-in-Pink Tiny-Shrimp Dip, Salad or Sandwiches ~.

"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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