June 23, 2014
Nell Staff's Shrimp Salad
Fresh Gulf Shrimp from Snapper Grabbers in Birmingham
Mook Mill's Cheese Straws
The Old Glory from Dreamcakes Bakery in Birmingham
Jennifer Hagler Photography
By Buffy York
I always serve my Chicken Pasta Salad so when I decided to have some friends over for a Make-up Update Party I wanted to change things up a little and serve my grandmother’s shrimp salad. I remembered it being delish but thought I needed to do a trial run, just in case, like Spaghettios and Boone’s Farm, it wasn’t as good as I remembered. Well it was better and since smell, memory and emotions have all set up shop on the same block in our brains the aroma of Old Bay and mayo and celery took me right back to Grandmama’s kitchen in South Alabama. It was complete with DIY hand painted china displayed on racks above the kitchen table, dough rising and Nell Staff always hard at work peeling shrimp or potatoes or whatever needed to be done to feed her very large family. So even though the Girl’s Get Together was not to take place on a Thursday I opted for a #throwback menu. Alongside the shrimp salad I served cucumber and chicken salad finger sandwiches from Ousler”s, Mook Mills Cheese Straws and fruit salad. It was all fantastic and reminiscent of my grandmother’s Bridge parties, without being complicated by Bridge. However, the star of the show was the Old Glory Cupcake from Dreamcakes Bakery served on the most beautiful antique china plates I borrowed from my former in-laws (I prefer former to X, it just sounds better and I am borrowing plates from them so clearly we’re all good). The cupcakes are really more of a shortbread/poundcake hybrid with a generous dollop of fresh whipped cream on top in lieu of icing. They are worth every single calorie even if you eat two, which I have. I was lucky enough to discover this delicious dessert by walking in to Dreamcakes on a random Thursday in July. For the past two summers this has been its regular appearance. They will be available this summer on Wednesdays starting July 2nd but you can order a minimum of 6 in advance any day. I advise you to get a full dozen.
Nell Staff’s Shrimp Salad
3 lb Shrimp Steamed in Old Bay Seasoning | I Bunch of Celery | 5 Hard Boiled Eggs | 2 T Chives | 1/4 C Flat Leaf Parsley | 2 Shallots | 1 C Dukes Mayo | Juice of 1/2 Lemon | 2 T Durkee’s Sauce | 2 T Celery Seed | 1 T Dried Dill | Salt and Pepper to Taste | Tabasco Sauce (optional)
I’m lazy so I go ahead and buy my shrimp peeled and deveined and have my local fish market, Snapper Grabbers, steam them in Old Bay. Local seafood shops will have fresh Gulf seafood available. Large chain grocery stores can not always give you the same offerings. Chop the steamed shrimp into thirds. Trim and chop celery with the leaves, chives, parsley and shallots. The shallots need to be chopped very fine. Grated onions can replace the shallots if you like. Peel the eggs and chop into very small pieces. You can even add more eggs and mash with a fork to make the dish go farther. Mix the mayo, lemon juice, Durkee’s, spices and tabasco together to make the dressing. At this point you can add anything you think the dressing needs. Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Pour on the dressing and toss to coat. Yum!