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Sean Brock's Pickled Shrimp

Pickled Shrimp with Cilantro and Fennel

This recipe for pickled shrimp is perfect for a crowd. Sean Brock, whose restaurants include McCrady’s and Husk, says that this Charleston recipe is akin to South American ceviche, “except ours usually gets its acidity from lemon and vinegar, or both, instead of lime.”

This recipe comes from Brock’s highly anticipated debut cookbook, Heritage

Serves 6 as an appetizer

Pickling Liquid

1 large Vidalia onion, shaved as thin as possible

1 small fennel bulb (about 12 ounces), trimmed fronds reserved for garnish, and bulb shaved as thin as possible

1 celery rib, shaved as thin as possible

1 small carrot, shaved as thin as possible

4 garlic cloves, shaved as thin as possible

1 jalapeño, seeded and shaved as thin as possible

1 cup apple cider vinegar

Grated zest of 1 lemon (use a Microplane)

Grated zest of 1 lime (use a Microplane)

¾ cup fresh lemon juice

¾ cup fresh lime juice

½ cup fresh orange juice

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons celery seeds

2 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds

2 tablespoons fennel pollen

1 tablespoon fennel seeds

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon crushed 
red pepper flakes

3 fresh bay leaves 


2 quarts Vegetable Stock

2 cups dry white wine

2 tablespoons kosher salt

1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes

2 fresh bay leaves

2 pounds large shrimp (16–20 count), peeled and deveined

Fennel flowers and fronds (optional)

Cilantro blossoms, berries, and/or leaves (optional)

Carrot flowers (optional)

For the pickling liquid:

Combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight so that the flavors can meld.

For the shrimp:

1. Combine the stock and wine in a large pot and bring to a simmer over high heat. Add the salt, red pepper flakes, and bay leaves, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer for 20 minutes.

2. Add the shrimp to the poaching liquid and cook for 2 minutes, until they turn pink. Drain the shrimp, reserving the broth, if desired. (You can freeze the broth for up to 3 months to use again for poaching seafood.)

3. Drop the shrimp into the cold pickling liquid. The citrus in the pickling liquid will continue to “cook” the shrimp. Cover and refrigerate the shrimp overnight. (Tightly covered, the shrimp will keep for up to 1 week in the refrigerator.)

4. Serve the shrimp in a large bowl (drain the liquid out first) or in individual Mason jars. Garnish with the reserved fennel flowers and fronds; cilantro blossoms, berries, and/or leaves; and carrot flowers, if you have them.

Vegetable Stock

Makes 2 quarts

1½ cups (4 ounces) chopped leeks (white part only)

1½ cups (4 ounces) chopped sweet onions

1 cup (4 ounces) chopped peeled carrots

1 cup (4 ounces) diced celery

1 cup (4 ounces) diced fennel

4 garlic cloves

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 quarts cold water

1 cup dry white wine

1 large bunch flat-leaf parsley (4 ounces)

3 thyme sprigs

1 whole star anise

1 fresh bay leaf

1. Working in batches, pulse the leeks, onions, carrots, celery, fennel, and garlic in a food processor until the vegetables are the size of peas.

2. Heat the canola oil in a medium stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the vegetables and cook, stirring frequently, until they are just tender, about 5 minutes.

3. Add the water, wine, parsley, thyme, star anise, and bay leaf and bring to a simmer, skimming off any impurities that rise to the top. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the stock, continuing to skim off any impurities, for 45 minutes, or until rich in color, deeply flavored, and very fragrant; add more water if necessary to keep the ingredients covered.

4. Gently ladle the stock into a fine-mesh strainer set over a container. Do not press down on the solids, or you will cloud the stock. Discard the solids. Fill the sink or a large bowl with ice water, place the container in the ice water, and cool until chilled, about 1 hour, then cover and refrigerate. Remove any fat that has solidified on top before using.

5. Tightly covered, the stock will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator and up to 3 months in the freezer.

Excerpted from Heritage by Sean Brock (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2014. Photographs by Peter Frank Edwards.