Ocean City Today

Shrimp Dip Eastern Shore style

Food For Thought
By Deborah Lee Walker | May 03, 2018

(May 4, 2018) Fabulous food, glorious entertaining and proper etiquette go hand in hand.

Complying with protocol signifies respect for refinement and willingness to honor tradition. But more importantly, preserving the rules of etiquette makes for a more memorable occasion.

Table manners play an important part in making favorable impressions, both personally and professionally. Following is a fine dining etiquette guide to make you feel more comfortable at your next social event.

According to latest polls, 77 percent of adult Americans own a smartphone and this figure is on the rise. However, this does not mean your phone and keys should be part of the table setting.

It takes a considerable amount of time to perfect an elegant surrounding. Dirty keys and finger smudged phones do not pair with fresh flowers, fine china and spotless crystal. In other words, personal belongings do not belong on the table.

That being said, it is understood that texting, making and receiving phone calls at the dinner table is also considered rude. Only in the case of an emergency should one be using their phone and at that point you should excuse yourself.

What to do or not to do with your napkin is the next train of thought. As soon as you are seated, remove the napkin from your place setting, unfold it, and put it in your lap. Do not make a grand production by shaking it open, the napkin is subordinate and the focus should be on the special occasion. The napkin rests on the lap until the end of the meal.

If you need to leave the table, loosely fold and place the napkin to the side of your plate. Never place the napkin on the chair. In addition, do not clean your tableware, wipe your face, or us it to blow your nose.

The expression “dig in” should be changed to “please wait.” If you are at a restaurant, one should wait until all are served at your table before beginning to eat. If you are at a private dinner party, you should not pick up your fork until your host picks up their fork, unless they insist that you begin without them.

The rules for silverware during a formal dinner service can be intimidating at first glance. But if you remember to work from the outside in, you will be fine.

For example, the salad fork is on your outermost left, followed by your dinner fork. Your soup spoon is on your outermost right, followed by your beverage spoon, salad knife and dinner knife. Your dessert spoon and fork are above your plate or brought with dessert.

The rules for glassware must also be addressed. Each place setting should be set with all the glasses that will be used during the dinner service.

The water glass belongs slightly to the right of the plate, just above the knife. Wine glasses should be set to the right of the water glass in the order in which they will be used. Dessert glasses, more than likely, will be served with the dessert course.

Food is served from the left side while dishes are removed from the right. If you keep this in mind, the motion of your body will help facilitate this process.

At a restaurant, be sure to thank your server and bus boy after they have removed any used items. Remember, they are your servers and not your servants.

If another diner asks for the salt and pepper, pass both together, even if a guest asks for only one of them. This is so dinner guests will not have to search for orphaned shakers.

If you host an event where individual salt and pepper shakers are used, the salt always goes on the right. The reason is simple, most people use more salt as opposed to pepper and most people are right handed.

Always taste your food before seasoning it. The host has gone to great lengths to ensure the food is delicious. It is considered very rude to add salt and pepper before tasting your meal.

Do not talk with your mouth full of food. This is considered very rude and quite distasteful to watch. There is nothing that you are about to say that cannot wait until you have swallowed your food.

If the owner of a restaurant serves you himself, you should still tip him. He will divide the tip accordingly.

Dining etiquette tips are quite lengthy and we simply do not have the time to review all of them. But if you get into a jam and are unsure, simply observe what others are doing.

Succulent shrimp is fitting for any special occasion. Dips are a great way to highlight expensive ingredients at an affordable price. Frozen shrimp makes the dish even more economical.

Shrimp dip, Eastern Shore style, incorporates a variety of cheeses, hunks of tender shrimp, and a rainbow of assorted vegetables for extra flavor. The following recipe is quite tasty, simple to make, and can be made ahead of time. What more can one ask for? Enjoy!


Shrimp Dip, Eastern Shore Style


1 ½ pounds frozen shrimp, deveined, shells and tail removed

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

½ cup combined finely chopped red, orange and yellow peppers

2 teaspoons minced garlic from a jar

3 large scallions, white and green parts, chopped

1 ½ stalks celery, finely chopped

1 (12-ounce) container whipped cream cheese

½ cup good quality mayonnaise

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 to 2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning

¼ to ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/3 cup shredded pepper Jack cheese

1 cup shredded mozzarella

1 cup shredded 5 Cheese Italian Blend (Food Lion)

kosher salt to taste

Italian parsley for a garnish

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees and lightly grease an 8 x 8-inch baking dish.

2.  In a large nonstick pan, sauté shrimp in 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat just until the opaque color start to turns white. Remove immediately and place on a cooling rack underlined with a sheet pan. This way the shrimp will cool faster. When the shrimp have cooled, chop coarsely and set aside. Freeze shells for future stock.

3.  Reduce heat to medium-low, add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, and sauté peppers, garlic, onions, and celery for 5 minutes. Drain if there is any excess butter.

4.  In a large bowl, using a hand-held mixer, blend cream cheese, mayonnaise, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce.

5.  Add shrimp, vegetables, Old Bay, crushed red pepper flakes and cheese to the large bowl. Using a large spoon, combine all the ingredients thoroughly.

6.  Transfer dip to prepared baking dish and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. The dip should be bubbly when it is removed from the oven.

7.  Garnish with fresh parsley and serve immediately with favorite crackers or baguettes.

Secret Ingredient – Rules. “Life has two rules: No. 1 never quit, No. 2 always remember rule No. 1.”

— Duke Ellington


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