Even though summer isn’t official until June 20th, here along the coast of South Carolina we’ve had summer-like weather for a couple of months. School is out and a tropical storm passed within shout’ in distance in May. And while we haven’t landed any monster crabs yet off our community dock, local commercial shrimpers have been filling their nets for several weeks and a neighbor of ours hauled in a couple of beautiful red drum (known around here as redfish or reds) over the weekend.
Thinking about all this ocean bounty started me thing about…Christmas. Yes, I realize this makes no sense, as Christmas is in December and that means winter and cold weather (even here). Let me explain…
There are a few recipes for which I have a claim to fame, if you will. Well, I use the term ‘fame’ loosely, as the scope of my celebrité reaches the farthest corners of… family cookouts and neighborhood potlucks. Nevertheless, my shrimp dip is probably my most-requested dish.
This recipe goes back, way back – to 1989. It was created out of necessity and a snowstorm, if you can believe it. I was staying with one of my sisters and her family on the isle of Hilton Head and it was Christmas time. While I was supposed to head up to my parent’s home and my sister was supposed to travel to her in-laws in Pinehurst, NC the weather took an odd turn, with frigid temperatures and icy conditions shutting down parts of the Interstate 95 corridor. We could not travel so we went into emergency mode and stayed put at home
After running to the Piggly Wiggly on an emergency supply run, we settled in for a long winter’s nap and woke up to about 4 or 5 inches of the fluffy white stuff and no hot water. While the power was on, a pipe burst and we were without hot water. Oh well, we made due with what we had or were able to purchase the day before. My brother-in-law mentioned he had some shrimp fresh frozen so, “please try to make some kind of appetizer out it and whatever else you like.” Our family likes to snack but snack well, especially while we cook up the ‘main event’ for a holiday dinner. I was up to the challenge.
So I created this spread. The fresh parsley and lemon along with the shrimp really make this sing so I would not substitute or go for less than fresh on these items. Now I did state the shrimp were fresh frozen and they were tiny as well, if memory serves me. But they were locally caught, wild shrimp (not farmed) caught by my brother-in-law in month prior to being used in this recipe.
Letting the mixture sit makes a difference too. I made the inaugural concoction early in the day and it sat refrigerated for a few hours before being gobbled up, so the flavors had time to meld together. Lastly, I prefer noticeable chunks of shrimp in the dip so usually I roughly grind half the shrimp in the food processor and then chop the other half by hand to the perfect size – you’ll get shrimp in every bite!
Tasty Shrimp Dip
- 1- 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
- ½ cup mayonnaise (preferably homemade)
- 1 1/2 cups cooked shrimp, peeled with tails removed
- 1 lemon
- ¼ cup sweet onion (preferably Vidalia), grated
- 1 large clove of garlic, minced or pressed
- ½ cup fresh parsley, washed, dried and finely chopped
- 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp. hot sauce
- salt and pepper
Finely chop the cooked shrimp but do not pulverize. You can do this by hand or with a food processor. Grate the zest of the lemon and squeeze the juice and set aside. In a medium bowl mix all the ingredients together including the shrimp and the lemon except the salt and pepper. I suggest this order: Mix mayo and cream cheese until smooth. Then add onion, lemon zest and juice, garlic, and mustard. Mix in parsley and the hot sauce. Fold the shrimp in last. Taste the mixture, adding salt and pepper if you like.
Store in a covered bowl in the refrigerator at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours. Serve with crackers or toast points.