Monday, June 11, 2012

Shrimpy Noodle Ring Salad

We love all kinds of macaroni salads and this one is no exception. There are probably just as many recipes for macaroni salads out there, as there are people who make them. I make a few different versions, myself.

This version was a favorite in our household, when my brother and I were growing up and hubby's mom made it, too. His family had a very specific name for it, though. They called it "treasure shrimp salad". It wasn't until after we were married that I found out just why that was. I guess at some point, one of hubby's six siblings remarked that for something called "shrimp salad", the shrimp seemed to be a little scarce. As an answer to that little observation, someone replied; (I'm thinking it was my mother-in-law) "Oh, they're in there, but they're like little "treasures" that you find as you eat it."  And it stuck. From that day forward, in hubby's family and now in ours, it would forever be known as Treasure Shrimp Salad.

The recipe is simple, quick to make and it's delicious. Several years ago, I learned a little trick from my favorite sister-in-law, that makes it a little more shrimp and a little less treasure. After draining and rinsing the shrimp, we go through it with our fingers and carefully break up all of the little buggers. This actually serves two purposes. It distributes the shrimp throughout the salad better and it also allows you to feel for and take out any little bits of the shells or black specs that sometimes get left behind during the canning process. Ehm... we won't go into what that's all about. Uhn-Uh. No need to go there.

Shrimpy Noodle Salad
  • 1 Lb Macaroni Rings, cooked, drained and cooled
  • 2 Cans Medium Shrimp, rinsed drained and broken up
  • 2 Med Stalks of Celery, finely chopped
  • 1/2 Small Red Onion. finely chopped
  • 1 to 2 Scallions, thinly sliced and chopped
  • Mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbls Parsley, chopped
  • Celery Salt
  • Onion Powder
  • Salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Drain and rinse the shrimp.

Cook the noodle rings according to the package directions. Drain, rinse and set aside to cool. My sister-in-law has had a very hard time finding the pasta rings in most of the states they've lived in during my brother-in-law's 25 years in the military. She stocks up on them when they come home, or I bring them to her when we visit them. So if you can't find them in your area, you can use ditalini or another pasta, instead. I would just recommend that it be a fine or more delicate pasta, so that the subtle flavor of the shrimp doesn't get lost in the salad.

Check the shrimp for any shell or black specs and break it up into finer bits. You could use a fork if you prefer, but still check it carefully for any shell pieces. You can substitute canned tuna, if you have anyone in the family who doesn't care for shrimp.

I chop the celery, onions, scallions and parsley very finely and add them along with the seasonings, before I add the pasta and the mayonnaise. I find that it distributes them better and you don't end up with clumps of anything in the finished salad.

Add the pasta rings in and stir well to combine.

Now, for the mayo... You may have noticed that I didn't specify an amount of mayonnaise in the ingredient list. That's because I've learned through the years that everyone has a different idea about how much is enough and how much is too much. I used about 1/2 of a (quart) jar in this salad, because the pasta will absorb quite a bit as it's resting/chilling in the fridge and I really don't care for a "dry" salad. When it came out of the fridge a few hours later, I added another 1/4 cup (give or take) because it had dried out a bit. You can always start out with less and add more just before serving, if you're unsure.

Place the salad in a more decorative bowl if you like and cover it tightly with plastic wrap or a tight fitting lid. Allow it to chill in the fridge for at least one hour before serving.

You can cut this recipe in half if there's just a couple of you, or double it for a big family barbecue. I made the entire recipe because we'll have some of it with our lunches or with another supper, over the next few days. (I've also been known to have a wee bowl as a midnight snack from time to time. wink, wink)



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