Buttery Shrimp Rolls
If someone asked me what dishes absolutely define summer, lobster rolls would be at the very top of that list, if not, the top. Well, today we aren’t making lobster rolls (sorry! you can use lobster meat in this recipe, though!) but we are finding a way to use our good, reliable friend shrimp in the place of our very expensive friend, lobster.
This recipe is extremely easy. It’s actually inspired by an even easier family recipe that my grandmother, who grew up in Maine, introduced to my family back in the day. The original recipe is lobster meat tossed in Hellmans mayo (my grandmother specifically chose Hellmans because some other mayos are sweeter) and then put onto a hamburger roll and cooked in a skillet in a bath of butter, similar to the way you would cook a grilled cheese. That’s it. That’s the recipe. I grew up eating these every summer and would throw back up to 3-4 in one sitting. They are just THAT GOOD. Considering my family has Maine roots, you may be surprised that these are kind of a fusion between Connecticut and Maine style lobster rolls. I’m not surprised at all because they’re taking the best of bothh worlds and hot damn, it shows!!!!
My goal with this recipe was to get this same level of deliciousness, but with shrimp meat instead. It’s rare I will go out and buy lobster meat, and our NYC grocery store (cough Food Cellar, cough) is outrageously expensive. On the other hand, we always have frozen shrimp in the house because its pretty affordable for a large quantity. When cooked properly, shrimp can have a similar level of tenderness and butteriness as a lobster tail. Of course, we aren’t getting the claw meat and that cherished knuckle meat, but I promise these sandwiches will taste so good that you won’t even notice.
Buttery Shrimp Rolls
- 3 1/2 cups shrimp frozen or fresh
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp melted butter
- 2 tsp dried tarragon
- 1/2 tsp lemon juice optional, not the end of the world if you don't have it!
- 1/4 cup scallions chopped, reserving 1 tbsp for topping. Can sub chives
- 6 hamburger buns I prefer potato rolls but this is up to you
- 2 tbsp butter for pan
- Oil for pan
- Fill a large pot with water on the stove. Salt the water generously and bring it to a boil.
- As the water is coming to a boil, peel and clean the shrimp. Save the shells to boil with the shrimp. (they add a lot of flavor!) To devein the shrimp, use a pairing knife. Place the blade of the knife on the top (thicker end) of the shrimp and put it in the center, along the line on the back of the shrimp. Slice the back of the shrimp, starting at the top and going all the way down. Cut only 1/8th of the way through the shrimp. The goal is to skim the top and reveal the shrimp's digestive track. After you slcie through, you should see a brown line– that's the digestive tract. Don't worry, it's just full of sand! Remove it and repeat with all of the shrimp.
- Once the water is boiling, place the shrimp in the water and allow them to boil. If they are fresh, check on them after one minute. If they are opaque, remove them from the boiling water and place them into an ice bath, or put them in a bowl and run cold water over the bowl until the shrimp cool down. If your shrimp were frozen, boil for 2-3 minutes, until opaque. It's important to keep an eye on the shrimp's color so that they don't overcook! We want them to be tender and juicy just like lobster meat!
- While the shrimp is cooling, place the mayo, melted butter, tarragon, salt, lemon juice and 3 tbsp of scallions into a bowl and mix until combined.
- Remove the cooled shrimp from the bowl and place on a cutting board. Cut each shrimp to your liking for your shrimp rolls. I personally like to cut them into thirds, with some larger and smaller pieces because I like to have texture contrast ini the sandwich. This is a personal preference, so trust your gut! Taste the mixture to see if you want to adjust any other flavors.
- Add the cooled shrimp to the mayo mixture and toss until fully coated. If you want more mayo, feel free to add more.
- With a spoon or washed hands, sandwich some of the shrimp mixture in between hamburger buns. You don't want to overflow the sandwich because we are searing and flipping it in a pan, but add as much as you can. Repeat with all of the sandwiches.
- Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tbsp and splash of oil to a pan. (The oil isn't necessary, but it does help prevent the butter from burning off of the pan and drying up quickly.)
- Once the pan is hot, add as many sandwiches that you can to the skillet and let them sear for 1-2 minutes, until golden brown. Press the sandwich down with the back of your spatula to get that bread to soak in alllll that butter!
- Flip the sandwiches and sear the other side. The second side usually browns more quickly since there will be burnt butter deposits in the pan, so sear it for about 1 minute, or until browned to your liking.
- Plate the sandwiches and sprinkle some more scallions around the plate because it's beautiful and delicious to have more scallions 😀 (this is optional, of course.)
- Serve immediately! Enjoy!