4 quarts salted water + 2 quarts plain water
2 lbs. small shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 package small pasta shells (16-oz. size)
1/4 cup. Frank Davis Complete Seafood Boil
1 cup Blue Plate Mayonnaise
1/2 bell pepper, chopped superfine
1 rib celery, chopped superfine
1/2 medium onion, chopped superfine
2 Tbsp. parsley, finely minced
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
3 tsp. Frank Davis Seafood Seasoning
Extra salt and black pepper to taste
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced for garnish
First, in a 6-quart stockpot bring the 4 quarts of salted water to a rapid boil. At the same time, using a 4-quart saucepan, bring the 2 quarts of plain water to a rapid boil and flavor it by stirring the seafood boil into it.
Now drop the shells into the stockpot and cook them over high heat for about 6 to 8 minutes until they are 'al dente' (tender but not soft). I do suggest you stir the pasta occasionally as it boils to keep the shells from sticking together.
Meanwhile, when the seafood water begins boiling, go ahead and drop in the shrimp. But as soon as the water comes back to a boil turn the fire off, remove the pot from the burner, and allow the shrimp to poach in the seasoned liquid for about 10 minutes to pick up all the spice.
When the shells are cooked, pour them into a colander, wash them thoroughly in cold water, and set them aside momentarily to drain. Note: it is very important to get all the water off the pasta, otherwise the mayonnaise dressing will become thin and watery and the dish will turn out unbelievably flat!
This is also the time when you take a slotted spoon, ladle the shrimp out of the seasoned water, and coarsely chop them with a chef's knife. Remember that they too must be dry when they go into the salad dressing.
Now you're ready to take a large mixing bowl and completely blend together the mayonnaise, bell pepper, celery, onion, parsley, shrimp, and apple cider vinegar. I suggest you take your time and combine all the ingredients well so that they are uniformly mixed into the mayonnaise.
Finally, cover the mixture tightly with plastic film and set it into the refrigerator for about an hour so that all the flavors 'marry.'
Then when you're ready to put the salad together, take a large bowl and a rubber spatula and fold the mixture into the pasta until every single shell is coated. All that's left is to go ahead and season the salad with the seafood seasoning and extra salt and pepper to taste.
Of course, you can serve the salad right away, But to make it the best it can be, I suggest you sprinkle on the green onion garnish, tightly cover the bowl again with plastic wrap, and allow everything to rest overnight in the bottom of the refrigerator.
Y'all, this might very well end up being your absolute favorite dish all summer long! And during the rest of the year as well!
1. I suppose you could use almost any brand of mayonnaise you like, but the person who taught me how to do this recipe said I'd burn in hell when I die if I ever made it with anything other than Blue Plate! Oh, yeah, and using 'diet' mayonnaise is absolutely out of the question!
2. For a creamier salad, just stir in more mayo than I listed for you in the ingredients.
3. You can also use pre-cooked tiny salad shrimp in this recipe-just poach them first in
my seafood boil to infuse additional flavor into the finished dish.
4. To make this 'sugar-watchers' compliant, you should substitute small whole wheat shells for the semolina pasta in the original dish. And I guess if you were really adamant about it you could sneak by with low-fat mayonnaise (just don't tell me you did it, okay?)