Neptune's Chest~ Shrimp Salad with Melon

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When my husband and I were dating each other, we would frequently go to a great seafood restaurant on the water in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia.  It was great, not only because of the food, but for the atmosphere.  It is close to the water and filled with historic buildings making it a beautiful place to walk around before and after dinner.  We often sat upstairs in the piano room.  There was a fabulous piano player who really entertained everyone.  And they had fabulous drinks to go along with their food, the specialty was a draft beer in a huge glass called A Fish Market.  But the food was always good.

Once, shortly after we were engaged, I came back from the ladies room to find my fiance gabbing with an older man. The man asked if I would dance with him.  He was very sweet, so I did.  The whole time he teased me about where I was going to for my honey moon, some small town in Ohio, or so that's what he claimed my soon~to~be husband told him.  I knew it was all a joke, but my husband and I remember it to this day.

We went there often even after we were married.  But things change.  First, the piano man no longer worked there and they never hired a replacement.  Then they quit entertainment altogether because of city regulations.  Our next visit to the Fish Market was quite a while later.  By that time, the ownership had changed and so had the food.  I ordered my regular~ Neptune's Chest.  It was a traditional cold shrimp salad served in a cantaloupe half, not difficult.  But it was different.  We haven't been since and I think our dinners at the Fish Market have come and gone for good.

But I like to think about those days and hopefully many more ahead with my husband.  Almost out of nostalgia I decided to make this shrimp salad to enjoy.  I had never made a shrimp salad of my own before, but didn't think it would be too difficult.  I went from my taste buds' memories and knowledge of basic creamy, cold salads to make this.  I especially would love to make this for an early summer evening picnic, just for two.

Neptune's Chest Shrimp Salad
1 lb cooked, deveined and peeled medium shrimp {tail off}
4 stalks celery, tops and bottoms removed, chopped
2 green onions, sliced
1/2 c mayo
2 tsp dijon mustard
juice of half a lemon
salt and pepper to taste
1 cantaloupe, halved, seeded and flesh removed {see tips below}
1 small heart of Romaine lettuce, chopped, rinsed and dried

Mix all.  Chill for an hour.  Fill each melon half with shredded lettuce.  Spoon chilled shrimp salad onto lettuce, dividing between the halves. Makes two generous salads.

How to Prepare the Melon Bowl~
To make the melon bowls, cut a melon in half {suggest cantaloupe}.  Spoon our the seeds.  Cut around the inside edge, between melon and skin.

Cut into flesh only, 4 wedges, avoiding the skin.  The two slices on the outer edges should come off easily.  The two in the middle will still be intact.  Using a spoon, slowly and carefully lift the two remaining wedges.

Save the wedges {or cut into chunks} to serve with salad.

These are excellent for lunches, too.  Once assembled, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and keep chilled.  If taking for a picnic, place on ice in a small cooler.

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  1. Well, the restaurant experience may be gone, but it sounds like you have wonderful memories. This recipe sounds delicious. It is still too early to get good cantaloupe around here, but I will keep this in mind. Happy Wednesday :)

    1. We have fairly good cantaloupe available year round here, but it is always better early summer. But, I'm ever in the mood for some good seafood!


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