Two Shrimp Salads

Elements of a simple, fresh shrimp salad.

When no one sends a recipe that we ask for here, I suspect strongly it is because a recipe isn’t necessary, that most of you have a way of fixing something that escapes the recipe model. A couple of weeks ago I asked for a shrimp salad recipe that might be useful in a sandwich, or tucked into one of those little club rolls, or dropped on a leaf or so of lettuce. No response. I took it to mean that most Mainers belong to the shrimp, mayonnaise, celery, and a bit of chopped onion school of thought, just as one might make lobster salad, or salmon or tuna salad, even. That would be one good way to do it.

Then our friend LeonNa Gilbert from Arkansas, who reads this column on line, sent along a curried mayonnaise shrimp salad which sounded so delicious that I didn’t even try to resist.

I don’t think of shrimp as something that is ever leftover, the way you might have a leftover boiled lobster or leftover cooked chicken, so it requires starting with fresh shrimp that you cook, or already cooked shrimp that you can buy.  Both these recipes are a terrific way to use our tiny, sweet Maine shrimp, available frozen this time of year. You can even use canned shrimp.

For the simple version, merely assemble the ingredients in proportions you like. Add what you prefer and leave out what you don’t. Put it on lettuce or serve it in a little roll, maybe a hot dog roll.

For the curried mayonnaise version, cook up the onions, garlic, and spice according to the recipe , then, depending on how many you are serving, add it to the mayonnaise and toss with the shrimp to taste, reserving any excess for another occasion.

Shrimp, curry mix, and mayo for a curried shrimp salad.

It occurred to me that the curried mayo would be good on vegetables, too, like steamed zucchini or cauliflower after they have cooled, or leftover cooked chicken, as well as shrimp or lobster.

Simple Shrimp Salad

Minced onion

Minced celery


Cooked Shrimp, 4 to 5 ounces per person

Salt and Pepper

Mix all together and serve.



Curried Mayonnaise for Shrimp or Lobster

2 tablespoons canola oil

1/2 small Spanish onion, finely diced

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 1/2 tablespoons mild curry

½ cup of water

Salt and pepper to taste

1 ½ cup prepared mayonnaise

1 fresh lime, zested and juiced

Heat the oil in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, then add the curry powder and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add water and cook until it reduces and thickens.

The curry, onion, garlic, and water mix after it is reduced.

Transfer to a bowl and let cool slightly. Stir it into the mayonnaise and use right away or store in a jar in the fridge until needed.

To use right away, add the curried mayonnaise to the shrimp to taste, squeeze a little lime juice on it, and garnish with a little of the zest.

Makes a cup and a half of curried mayo.

Sandy Oliver

About Sandy Oliver

Sandy Oliver Sandy is a freelance food writer with the column Taste Buds appearing weekly since 2006 in the Bangor Daily News, and regular columns in Maine Boats, Homes, and Harbors magazine and The Working Waterfront. Besides freelance food writing, she is a pioneering food historian beginning her work in 1971 at Mystic Seaport Museum, where she developed a fireplace cooking program in an 1830s house. After moving to Maine in 1988, Sandy wrote, Saltwater Foodways: New Englanders and Their Foods at Sea and Ashore in the 19th Century published in 1995. She is the author of The Food of Colonial and Federal America published in fall of 2005, and Giving Thanks: Thanksgiving History and Recipes from Pilgrims to Pumpkin Pie which she co-authored with Kathleen Curtin. She often speaks to historical organizations and food professional groups around the country, organizes historical dinners, and conducts classes and workshops in food history and in sustainable gardening and cooking. Sandy lives on Islesboro, an island in Penobscot where she gardens, preserves, cooks and teaches sustainable lifeways.