SHRIMP AND CELERY WITH BOWTIE PASTA

  • Prep Time
    1 hour to prepare ingredients plus 1 hour to chill
  • Cook Time
    3 minutes for shrimp and 10 minutes for pasta
  • Serving
    4
  • View
    23

Louisiana is the largest shrimp producing state in the nation. Each year 90 to 120 million pounds of shrimp are landed in the bayou state. Two main species, white shrimp and brown shrimp make up the bulk of the catch. Just one of the many benefits to living in New Orleans is ready access to fresh Gulf shrimp.  When you buy it, remember the “count” determines how many shrimp are in a pound.  For example, “16/20” means there will be between 16 and 20 shrimp in a pound.  For this recipe, I used extra large shrimp boiled in a spice blend I bought at Schaefer and Rusich Seafood on Lake Avenue.  Celery plays a Best Supporting Actor role in this salad with a refreshing crunch.  The bowtie pasta cooked al dente is equally crucial to this cold summer salad.  Serve it with crackers, in a tomato or avocado, or (as I did) on a bed of crisp peppery arugula tossed with good olive oil and an apple flavored vinegar.  Whatever you do, don’t overcook your shrimp.

This recipe (left) for Creole Shrimp Pasta was published in the Times Picayune newspaper.  This is the pasta salad at Martin’s Wine Cellar that I am slightly addicted to, and it is the inspiration for my own cold pasta salad.  I could not find pasta shells at Winn Dixie so I bought bowtie pasta and now I prefer it.  And I used my own homemade 1000 Island Dressing (recipe on this site) to bind the pasta, celery and shrimp, as opposed to the Remoulade Sauce used by Cedric Martin’s deli.  Although I have to say I prefer my rendition, Martin’s is a bit spicier and every bit as habit forming.  And, if you’re wondering why anyone would go to the trouble of making this in her own kitchen as opposed to buying it in bulk at Martin’s… then you really don’t get it!  Homemade is almost always better than store-bought and with the humongous shrimp I found at Schafer and Rusich, my pasta salad was superior to anything you can pick up in a deli case.  (By the way, imitation is a form of flattery and I do love Martin’s Wine Cellar).

If you’re looking for a good guide to boiling shrimp, go to George Graham’s AcadianaTable.com website.  The instruction I got from the lady at Schaefer and Rusich was this:  Bring a big pot of water and about 1/2 cup of the crab boil seasoning to a boil.  When you have a rolling boil, add the shrimp.  Bring it back to the boil and turn off the heat.  Check one of the shrimp for doneness.  You probably won’t need to leave the shrimp in the water for more than 2 additional minutes.  WATCH IT AND TEST IT.  Overcooked shrimp is tragic.

Ingredients

Boiled Shrimp

Pasta and shrimp salad

    Directions

    Step 1

    Boil Shrimp: Add about 1/2 cup of crab boil mixture to a big pot of water. Bring to the boil and add the shrimp. Bring the water back to a boil. Let the shrimp sit a minute or two and check for doneness. Remove the black vein down the back of the shrimp with a sharp paring knife. CHILL THE COOKED SHRIMP.

    Step 2

    Cook the pasta all dente (10 minutes). When the pasta is room temp or chilled, add to the bowl of shrimp in the frig.

    Step 3

    Chop the celery and red onion. Mix in a small bowl. Set aside.

    Step 4

    Make a small salad of arugula tossed with olive oil and white vinegar (I used Monterey Olive Oil Gravenstein apple vinegar).

    Step 5

    Toss the pasta, the shrimp and the chopped celery and red onion with the 1000 Island dressing. Use a little less dressing than you think is necessary, then add what you want to coat the salad.

    Step 6

    Plate the salad: A little arugula salad on the bottom, then the pasta salad, some cherry tomatoes on the side, maybe a little extra dressing on the side. Serve with crackers and a cold white wine.

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