This comes from Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa Parties! It specifies "serves 12" - ok for a party I suppose, but I have only ever made half the recipe. Ina mentions that the secret to good shrimp salad is to "undercook" the shrimp and stresses to not cook it longer than the specified 3 minutes - that's for a shrimp size of 16-20 per lb. She also stresses that the shrimp must be cooled before being combined with the mayo mix to avoid spoilage.

Getting Ready:

  • buy the shrimp - be sure to get unpeeled; the recipe suggests the Extra Jumbo (16-20) size, but you could also use Jumbo (21-25)
  • if frozen, the shrimp need to be thawed; if you forget to do this overnight, most frozen shrimp thaw quickly under running water
  • prep the onion, celery and dill; NOTE that Ina minces the onion and celery - I just do a fine dice.
  • prep the lemons


Full recipe:

3 TB kosher salt
1 lemon cut into quarters
4 lbs uncooked shrimp in shell, thawed (16-20 per lb)

2 cups mayonnaise
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 TB white wine vinegar
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
6 TB minced fresh dill
1 cup red onion, minced or finely diced
3 cups celery, minced or 1/4" dice

Half recipe:

3 TB kosher salt
1 lemon cut into quarters
2 lbs uncooked shrimp in shell, thawed (16-20 per lb)

1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 TB white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 TB minced fresh dill
1/2 cup red onion, minced or finely diced
1.5 cups celery, minced or 1/4" dice


Bring 5 quarts water salt and lemon to a boil and large sauce pan. For the full recipe, add only half the shrimp (2 lbs) and reduce the heat to medium. Cook uncovered for only three minutes or until the shrimp are barely cooked through. Remove with a slotted spoon (or spider) to a bowl of cool water.

If doing the full recipe, bring the water back to a boil and repeat with the remaining shrimp.

Let cool, then peel and devein shrimp. 

In a separate bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, wine vinegar, salt, pepper and the dill.

Combine with the cooled, drained and peeled shrimp. Add the red onion and celery and check the seasonings.

Serve, or cover and refrigerate for a few hours. The flavour does improve if you let it sit for a bit.

Notes and Tips...

  • Shrimp - this doesn't take long to make, but the trick is to have the frozen shrimp thawed. Most frozen shrimp thaw nicely if placed in the refrigerator overnight. Otherwise, thawing it under cold running water works fine, but adds a bit of time and attention to the prep. My grocer sells raw shrimp in the shell, already de-veined - which is nice. I don't advise buying raw peeled shrimp - so much of the flavour comes from the shell - and that makes the time it takes to peel the shrimp worthwhile. In a time crunch, I guess using raw peeled shrimp would still produce a flavourful salad.
  • Lemon, salt - even when making half the recipe, I use the full amount of salt and lemon in the cooking water
  • Mayonnaise - best ingredients make best food. I do sometimes use Miracle Whip and love the taste
  • Vinegar - Ina even suggests using good white wine; I almost always have champagne vinegar on hand and like to use that
  • Celery - either regular or celery hearts work fine; some people like the more delicate flavour of celery hearts
  • Make ahead - I have almost always made this the day before; it rarely lasts into day three - but if it does, by then it is still edible, but a bit "watery"
  • Serving suggestions: Ina proposes using this on a picnic, as an appetizer or a main course salad. Have always thought they'd look nice served in little lettuce cups.

<== Questions or Comments about this recipe? Visit the Recipe Q. C. page - looking forward to hearing from you!

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