Dinner with friends is all about time. Time to catch up, time to snack, time to have a drink or two and when the time is right... to eat! These days we're cooking ahead and hosting get togethers outside. Food prep is always in season, but in summer any tricks to save a minute or two go a very long way. 

Prepping seafood for a picnic might sound a little backwards (always buy and serve the freshest seafood you can get!) but years ago I was given a recipe for Quick Pickled Shrimp that truly lives up to its name. These tasty bites are great for tacos, perfect on top of a salad and ideal for lettuce or cabbage wraps. As long as the shrimp stay in the brine, the flavors deepen over a day or they can be enjoyed within 30 minutes of assembly. 

I made these recently for a meal that needed to satisfy carnivores and pescatarians alike. The shrimp were on top of a romaine lettuce, lightly sautéed corn and roasted red onion salad. Also on the table:

  • Spatchcock chicken coated with Vietnamese Pork Rub
  • Chicken legs rubbed with Greek Seasoning
  • Fresh tomatoes with local ricotta cheese
  • Roasted red onions and potatoes tossed with fresh herbs 

Sometimes the best eats are simple eats and these Quick Pickled Shrimp certainly qualify!

Quick Pickled Shrimp: 

Makes 4-6 Servings


  • 1 lb Raw shrimp
  • 1/2 Fennel bulb
  • 1/2 Onion (yellow or red)
  • 2 Cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup Fresh lemon juice (can sub in lime juice)
  • 1/4 cup Apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Fennel Seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chipotle Morita Chile Flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Himalayan Salt
  • Pepper to Taste 


If shrimp have shells on, peel and prep shrimp to cook. Bring salty water to a boil and add shrimp until just done. Once done, drain and set the shrimp aside to cool. Thinly slice the fennel, onion and garlic and mix in a medium bowl. Add the lemon juice, vinegar and olive oil. Add the fennel seeds, chile flakes, salt and pepper to taste. Mix together. 

If you're using large shrimp, cut them into 1/4 inch sections and mix into brine. I you're using small shrimp, mix them in as is. 

Once all ingredients are combined, cover and let rest for at least 30 minutes before serving. Be sure to mix a few times before serving. Enjoy!

This recipe was given to me when I was working as a private cook and it's served me well over the years. For years these tart little shrimp were my go to snack and they're still a favorite for overnights on the boat and Tuesday night tacos. In terms of summer food, there's nothing better. 



July 14, 2020

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