Frank Stitt’s Pickled Shrimp

The best time to buy shrimp is right off the docks. Fortunately, we have fresh seafood on the Gulf Coast and fishmongers to buy from. I like to stop in to Destin Ice in Destin to pick up Stone Crab Claws, Royal Reds to boil, and white shrimp for this recipe, Pickled Shrimp.

For those looking to cook seafood at home for Mother’s Day, Destin Ice will have you covered. Stone Crab Claws are in season just a few more days, so hurry and enjoy this delicacy while you can. This Pickled Shrimp recipe is a Southern favorite that I could eat year round. Versatile and refreshing, it’s a delicious dish for spring and summer, and perfect for entertaining. It can be doubled and tripled easily depending on your crowd.

Chef Frank Stitt, owner and executive chef of Highlands Bar and Grill, Bottega Restaurant, Bottega Cafe, and Chez Fon Fon in Birmingham, Alabama, was inducted into the James Beard Foundation “Who’s Who of Food and Beverage” in 2011. He was also named the “Best Chef in the Southeast” in 2001, and was a 2008 finalist for the its national “Outstanding Chef” award. Known for elevating Southern cuisine, his flagship restaurant Highlands Bar and Grill was selected the winner of the “Outstanding Restaurant” award this week for 2018. Chef Stitt says, ““We are motivated by the seasonality of the Gulf Coast fishing industry. We create our menu around the most pristine, impeccable fish we can get our hands on. This should hold true for the home cook as well. Go with it, improvise your menu around it, and always make a point to choose the freshest, best fish you can get.”


  • 3 lbs. boiled shrimp, cleaned and deveined (see below)
  • 2 med. onions, quartered
  • 1 c. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1  tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. celery seed
  • 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp. fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp/ coriander seeds
  • 14 bay leaves
  • 4 dried hot chili peppers
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground white pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice


Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and toss thoroughly. Pack everything into a large glass jar, cover, and refrigerate overnight to allow the flavors to come together. Serve as an hors d’oeuvre with toothpicks and napkins.

Note:To cook shrimp: Fill a large pot with water and add 1 onion (quartered), 1 celery stalk (cut into pieces), 1 lemon (sliced) and 4 flat-leaf parsley sprigs. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Add the shrimp, and a tablespoon of salt to the shrimp. As soon as the water returns to a simmer (about 3 minutes), remove from the heat. The shrimp will have just begun to curl and have turned a bright pink. Do not allow the water to boil, or the shrimp will be tough. Drain—but do not rinse the shrimp, or the flavor will go right down the drain. Reserve the broth, if desired. Allow the shrimp to cool.

Photograph by Christopher Hirsheimer

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