Every region of the South has its own distinctive ways of pickling shrimp, oysters, mussels, and the like, but this Georgia method of pickling shrimp and serving them with a spicy cream sauce as an appetizer seems unique and recalls for me an incredible feast served by relatives of my mother in Monticello. “Oh honey, you do carry on,” said Cuddin’ Berta when I exclaimed about the dish. “You’re too young to remember, but you should have tasted the buttermilk sauce Sister Tancy used to put on her shrimp over in Macon.”
Place the shrimp in a large pot with enough water to cover. Add the lemon, pickling spices, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, remove from the heat, cover, and let stand 2 minutes. Drain through a fine-mesh strainer, pick out and discard the lemon, and, when cool enough to handle, peel and devein the shrimp. Place the shrimp, pickling spices, and bay leaves in a large bowl. Add the vinegar, oil, dry mustard, and salt, and toss well. Cover with plastic wrap and chill at least 2 hours or overnight.
To make the sauce, combine the sour cream, horseradish, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and Tabasco and mix till well blended.
To serve, arrange equal amounts of shrimp on the lettuce leaves and top each portion with dollops of the sauce.
© 2007 All rights reserved. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.