Pickled Shrimp and Celery

A heady blend of spices and aromatics perfumes the salty-sweet brine in this mostly hands-off appetizer.

  • Serves


  • Cook

    1 hour 35 minutes


By Christopher Hirsheimer, Melissa Hamilton

Updated on February 22, 2024

Tender celery and snappy shrimp get pickled in mirin, rice vinegar, and lemon juice in this tangy appetizer adapted from Canal House Cooking Volume No. 2: Fall & Holiday by former SAVEUR editors Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer.

Featured in the November 2009 issue.


  • 1 cup mirin
  • 1 cup rice vinegar
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 Tbsp. sugar
  • ¼ tsp. crushed red chile flakes
  • 20 black peppercorns, divided
  • 10 juniper berries
  • 4 bay leaves, divided
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • One 2-in. piece ginger, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 celery stalks, preferably hearts, leaves reserved
  • 1 cup white wine
  • ½ lb. medium shell-on shrimp
  • Extra-virgin olive oil and lemon wedges, for serving


Step 1

To a medium pot set over medium heat, add the mirin, vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, chile flakes, 12 of the peppercorns, the juniper berries, 2 of the bay leaves, the cinnamon, ginger, and 1 cup of water. Season to taste with salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the salt and sugar are dissolved, 3–5 minutes. Transfer the brine to a large bowl and refrigerate. Return the pot to the stove.

Step 2

Add the celery stalks, wine, the remaining peppercorns and bay leaves, and 8 cups of water to the pot and season to taste with salt. Cover and bring to a boil, then turn the heat to medium-low and simmer until the celery is tender, 18–20 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the celery to the brine. To the poaching liquid in the pot, add the shrimp and cook until just pink and opaque, 1–2 minutes. Transfer the shrimp to a small bowl to cool, then peel, devein, and add to the brine. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 12 hours, tossing the mixture once halfway through.

Step 3

Cut the celery on the bias into bite-size pieces and place on a large platter. Strew the shrimp and reserved celery leaves on top, season to taste with salt, drizzle with oil, and serve cold or at room temperature with lemon wedges.

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