The early days of summer are a perfect time for a big, beautiful salad. Bountiful enough for a meal with make-ahead elements that just require some last-minute assembly. I love to serve these platter salads outside with everyone gathered around to mix and match their own perfect meal. From the hearty Steak House Platter Salad to the sophisticated Lyonnaise Style Platter Salad or the jazzy Muffaletta version, the Southern Buttermilk Cobb, or the sister of this one, Margarita Shrimp Salad, I offer a whole summer’s worth of big salad ideas. This Bloody Mary version seems to hark toward brunch, but it makes an equally nice dinner. And you have just enough Bloody Mary mix left to make a pitcher to accompany your meal!
I provide here a picture and a template. You can of course, add anything to the platter that you might add to a Bloody Mary – bacon strips, pickled green beans, snap peas, pickled or fresh jalapenos. Use your imagination. When I photographed this, I found some lovely white asparagus which added a nice color contrast, but green works just as well. I have a small collection of large, simple platters and trays, all of which were purchased on the cheap at discount stores, which I use for salads or cheese boards or any buffet display and find them well worth the purchase price. But use a rimmed sheet pan or a large wooden board if that’s what you have. You can even put the individual elements in separate bowls.
Bloody Mary Shrimp Salad Platter
For the Dressing:
1/3 cup Bloody Mary mix (such as Zing Zang)
2 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon prepared horseradish
1 ½ teaspoons dry mustard powder
1 ½ teaspoons celery salt
½ cup canola or vegetable oil
Put the Bloody Mary mix, lemon, horseradish, mustard powder and celery salt in the carafe of a blender and blend to combine. With the motor running, drizzling in the oil until emulsified and slightly creamy. You can refrigerate overnight – either in the blender or in a jar. Shake, whisk or blend before serving to combine again.
For the Shrimp:
¼ cup vodka
1/3 cup Bloody Mary mix
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
2 bay leaves
1 pound medium shelled and deveined shrimp, thawed if frozen
Fill a bowl with water and a scoop of ice. Put the vodka, Bloody Mary mix, lemon juice and bay leaves in a medium skillet or pot and add enough water to fill the pot half way. Bring to a boil, then drop in the shrimp. Leave the pot on the heat for 2 minutes, then remove it from the burner, cover the pot and leave for five minutes. The shrimp should be cooked though, pink and curled. Transfer the shrimp to the ice water and discard the cooking liquid. When the shrimp have cooled, transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until chilled. These will keep overnight.
For the Salad:
1 bunch white or green asparagus
5 stalks celery, with leaves attached
16 ounce jar pickled okra
16 ounce jar pepperoncini pepper
6 ounce jar olives
10 ounces baby spinach
1 pint cherry tomatoes
Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the asparagus, cook for two minutes, then drain and plunge into ice water to stop the cooking (as you did the shrimp). Drain and pat dry. You can do this up to a day ahead and refrigerate in a plastic bag.
Cut the celery diagonally into one-inch chunks. Pull off some of the leaves to arrange on the platter. Drain the okra, peppers and olives well and pat dry with paper towels.
Spread the spinach as a base layer on the platter and tuck in the celery leaves. Put the dressing in a bowl on the platter, then arrange the remaining elements attractively