A Summer Rite of Passage: Shrimp Rolls

Shrimp salad is not something I grew up eating…

I remember seeing large trays of it in the deli case sitting next to picnic food royalty (potato salad and macaroni salad, natch) and not being particularly impressed. It always seemed gloppy, tossed with too much mayo (sometimes even sour cream!) and large chunks of celery that seemed as if they’d overwhelm every bite. Fast forward a few decades when I was vacationing in South Carolina and had regular access to flavorful fresh shrimp literally right off the boat. After shrimp cocktail-ing and shrimp-and-grits-ing, I decided to play around with a more modernized version of shrimp salad, one that let the shellfish be the star of the show. To that end, I dialed back on the mayo, and, for some bite, added horseradish. I kept the celery, but made sure it was minced finely, to retain its crunch and flavor. And I showered the whole thing with fresh herbs (dill mostly, but I’ll add chives, too) before serving it in toasted-and-buttered hot dog buns.

These days, I start craving shrimp rolls as soon as the weather gets warm, even when I’m in New York, and the only shrimp I have access to is in the freezer aisle of Trader Joe’s. I made a batch over the weekend and now I can safely say: Summer is most definitely on the way.

Shrimp Salad Rolls
Makes 6 sandwiches

1 3/4 pounds medium shrimp, the freshest you can find, peeled
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 small celery stalk, very finely minced
2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
4 scallions (light green and white parts only), chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
6 hot dog buns, preferably Martin’s potato buns
butter, at room temperature

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the shrimp and cook until the water returns to a boil, about 4 minutes. Drain the shrimp and rinse them with cold water. Once they are cool enough to handle, shred them with your fingers into bite-size pieces. (You can also chop with a knife, but I like the texture better when they’re shredded.)

In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, celery, horseradish, scallions, lemon juice, salt, and pepper, and dill. Toss in the shrimp, cover the bowl, and place it in the refrigerator for as long as you’ve got, and up to one day. When you are ready to eat, toast the hot dog buns and spread each with a thin layer of butter. Top with shrimp salad.

P.S.  Alex’s 10-minute salmon sandwich and Cup of Jo readers’ favorite summer recipes.