Outdoor Eats

It’s time to break out the patio furniture—cookout season has arrived. While the grill is heating up, keep guests satiated with this refreshing appetizer.

Pickled Shrimp Hoe Cake with Goat Cheese Mousse


1 pound (21-25) shrimp, peeled and deveined

24 ounces beer

4 cups water

1 tablespoon Tabasco

1 serrano pepper, stem removed and sliced thin

½ cup white onion, sliced thin

2 cloves garlic, sliced thin

3 sprigs thyme

To taste: Kosher salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper

1 lemon, juice and cut into eight pieces

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

¾ cup extra virgin olive oil


Goat Cheese Mousse

10 ounces goat cheese, softened to room temperature

¼ cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons chives, sliced thin, plus extra for garnish

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper

To taste: Kosher salt, black pepper


Hoe Cake

1 cup corn meal

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon kosher salt

¾ cup buttermilk

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

To fry: Canola oil

  1. Place beer and water in a stockpot and bring to a boil.
  2. Place lots of ice and cold water in a large bowl for ice bath.
  3. Add Tabasco and shrimp; stir and cook until pink, about 2 minutes. Remove shrimp by draining into a colander.
  4. Plunge shrimp into an ice bath until completely cooled and drain again. Pat shrimp dry and place in a large mixing bowl with serrano pepper, onion, garlic, thyme, and cut juiced lemon. Season with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper. Toss to combine.
  5. Place shrimp in a one-quart mason jar and keep bowl.
  6. Add lemon juice, vinegar, and oil to the bowl and whisk to combine. Pour over shrimp. Cover and place in refrigerator overnight.
  7. Warm an iron skillet over medium-high heat.
  8. For hoe cakes, place all dry ingredients in a bowl and combine.
  9. In a separate bowl combine buttermilk, eggs, and butter. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix to combine.
  10. Add about a half-inch of oil to skillet.
  11. Add hoe cake batter a few tablespoons at a time to form cakes. Cook until golden brown on each side, 1 to 2 minutes per side, and place on a paper towel-lined plate.
  12. Fry remaining batter; you should have about 12 to 16 hoe cakes.
  13. Combine ingredients for goat cheese mousse and place in a plastic bag. Leave at room temperature.
  14. To assemble dish, cut corner of bag with goat cheese mousse and squeeze onto hoe cake. Top with a couple of shrimp and serve.


Troy Gagliardo is the executive chef of soon-to-open Wu’s Cajun Sea Food in Charlotte and author of Pseudo Southern—a playful twist on the art of Southern cooking—and is the TV Host of “Troy’s Everyday Eats.” Watch Troy live from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. every Tuesday on WCCB Charlotte News Rising and purchase his book at www.cheftroy.com.

Photo by Richard Rudisill