Food

A Summer Rite of Passage: Shrimp Rolls

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.

  1. Karin says...

    Curious how you would use the frozen shrimp from Trader Joe’s that you mentioned?

  2. Emily says...

    Wow! Made these for lunch today and they were delicious! Thanks for the recipe!

  3. Joanna Tsay says...

    Sometimes your mother in law gifts you with bags of frozen shrimp that you don’t know what to do with, so thank you for the recipe, I’m adding it to my list of new recipes to try this quarantine!

  4. ufff me lo comería ahora mismo!! Es muy apetecible y parece muy fácil de hacer. Se lo voy a hacer a mis niños que seguro que les gusta. Gracias por la receta!

  5. Lolo says...

    Where do you find Martin’s potato rolls?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      they’re in many grocery stores — they’re so delicious!

    • Lauren O'Neill says...

      Martin’s is less available on the West Coast, but I’ve found ‘Oroweat’ brand of Potato Rolls/Buns to fill that hole :)

  6. M. says...

    Thank you for bringing so much love and light to the Internet, and our homes. For posting about shrimp rolls and beauty products and relationships and race and politics. Not every post is going to be address everything that is going on, though I follow you on Instagram and see how vocal you are about politics and society and how heartbroken you – like many of us – were and are about Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd and the countless other POC that fall due to the (systemic) racism that exists in the US.
    So yes, you posted about shrimp rolls. And you posted about race the next day, because writing a post about that takes time and consideration. You were so gracious in your responses, as always.
    I’m so grateful for your voice and your kind, caring ways in this world, Joanna. And for using your platform to address so many injustices and inequities that exist.
    Thank you.

    • Amber says...

      ♥♥♥

  7. Gabriela says...

    Jenny, I made these yesterday and were fantastic!! Thank you for the recipe.

  8. Rasheeda Ali says...

    I’m pretty sure all of the people asking to keep this blog “light & airy” have not experienced racism and are not deeply affected by what’s going on “out there”. As a WOC, let me tell you right now, that when horrible things are happening in our communities, there’s nothing that can distract us from the pain of it. Not a post about shrimp rolls or beautiful homes. That’s because there is no escaping our realities. There is no escaping the hopeless feeling that things will change. A white woman can easily look away for an hour or a few, or days or weeks or maybe even forever. But we can’t. I read this blog because I like it. It’s not an escape from the outside world. I still read fiction, do crossword puzzles and watch The Great, but the issues of the day are still very much at the forefront of my mind. I really just needed to make that clear, and I hope I’ve been able to articulate the distinction between escapism and still giving AF properly.

    • NSH says...

      Thank you! Thank you.
      As a WOC I feel this. Moreover, as I said earlier in comments And in the post about Palestinian/Israeli foods a couple weeks ago- to mention shrimp salad and South Carolina as an inspiration but to not directly attribute the dish in any way to Gullah Geechee cuisine smacks of the same white privilege that Amy Cooper deployed. There are a ton of black chefs from the region doing great work highlighting the origin and culture of such recipes. You can have your shrimp salad and eat it too (and go ahead and enjoy it!), but one should know that this recipe is rooted in the community of an enslaved West African community in the coastal Carolinas. An editor could simply add a single sentence acknowledging the roots of the dish- one is not asking Jo to know all…

    • Claire says...

      beautifully said. thank you.

    • Latoya says...

      When all you have is a hammer . . . everything is a nail.

  9. Jill says...

    Yum! Coincidentally, I made an almost identical dish the other day using smashed chickpeas instead of shrimp. Mayo, chopped celery, dill, lemon, shallots, yum. Next time I’ll try adding horseradish as well! I would very much recommend this chickpea version as a delicious sandwich spread if anyone doesn’t feel like shrimp! x

  10. Lori says...

    This looks great-lunch tomorrow! I love the contributions on this site of Jenny Rosenstrach. She is one of several contributors who write about specific areas. I REALLY like this kind of content as well as more serious discussions that take place. There is room for all of it folks! Thanks Jenny and Joanna!

    • Heather says...

      Well said! I’ve been reading Cup of Jo for almost ten years. It is the only blog I read daily and something I look forward to reading every morning when I start my day.

      I appreciate how the COJ team balances the lighter and serious aspects of the time we’re living in. With so many uncertain things going on in the world right now it is comforting to read recipes that celebrate the change of seasons or interviews folks who so graciously welcome COJ readers into their beautiful homes. I love Jenny’s posts and am a big fan of how all the COJ contributors are able to write and share creatively on a variety of topics.

      The COJ team has demonstrated that they are committed to developing thoughtful and sensitive content. I trust that they will address the terrible news coming out right now in the caring way they always do. It might just take a little extra time because they’re working from home and supporting children and family members. It might also take a little extra time to get it right in order to respect the gravity of the situation and the impact it is having in the communities we live in. To the best of my knowledge many blogs schedule posts weeks in advance and in these wacky times it may be a little more complicated to create a post that effectively responds to quickly unfolding news.

      It’s important to remember that just as we readers are grappling with the pandemic crisis and impact on our lives so are the COJ Team. Many of them are based in New York – where the impact of COVID has been so scary and ugly. Let’s practice the empathy and compassion we know the world needs right now, and extend that to the COJ team as they work hard to create meaningful content. I am confident that they will take this opportunity to address the issues that are weighing heavy on our hearts right now

  11. Kat says...

    This has been our summer recipe for years since I first found it! We love your shrimp rolls.

  12. Gemma says...

    Jo and writers, you have a platform – use it! We don’t need more recipes, we need to discuss how your demographic (and I am one of them) can help end racism with actions and open discussions of white privilege.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes, absolutely agree. we’re working on this, just takes a bit of time to put posts together (especially with kids at home). thank you so much, Gemma!

    • Lauren E. says...

      To be fair, this isn’t a breaking news site, either. Some of us come here for the recipes, the home tours, the relationship articles. I think Jo and team do a great job of keeping it balanced.

    • nadine says...

      Of course Joanna, one of the many reasons we love your blog is the thoughtful and pondered writing. Take all the time you need!
      Also working from home right now is really tough, it’s already admirable all you do!

    • Erin says...

      I agree, Lauren!

    • Caroline says...

      I’m with Lauren. I come here for the full variety of posts – home tours, recipes, insightful opinion pieces. Light and deep. Got to have balance! Keep it up Cup of Jo.

    • CC says...

      I agree with Lauren and others! I come to this site for a wide range of posts and taking time to compose thoughtful material is very important.

    • Lena says...

      Agreed. Also just want to note that featuring an expensive ingredient like shrimp when there are ever increasing people facing food insecurity right now is kind of oblivious and wreaks of class privilege.

    • SB says...

      Agree with you Lauren, and others! The balance is important and something I savour about this site!

      Lena – I wanted to say that in my view, that’s not necessarily the case. I lived in Atlantic Canada for five years and depending on the season, protein from the sea (mussels, shrimp, even lobster) was often the cheapest animal protein available (and local!). I can imagine it’s similar in other places, too, where seafood is fresh and local. My mother grew up in Newfoundland and fresh cod, halibut, etc were everyday menu items, but she could probably count on one hand how many times she ever had beef, as it just wasn’t readily available.

      I understand what you’re saying, but I also think we need to give others the understanding and perspective we expect to receive from them. Everyone has different life experiences, everyone is going through something different – this blog can’t be everything for everyone all the time.

    • Anna Lu says...

      Understand that some feel that shrimp rolls and tours through million-dollar houses are touting privilege (they are). But not every site is for everything and everyone. It’s a bit unfair to ask this of CupofJo which has always been a lifestyle blog first, not a political platform.

    • whatever says...

      Agreed, Lauren. I don’t need CoJ to take those tasks on, although I appreciate their willingness to contribute.
      But we can’t outsource our consciences to CoJ, and critical blog comments are not activism.
      Of course there is a lot to talk about on these subjects but good grief, there is nothing wrong with a recipe for shrimp rolls. People still need to eat, and lots of people like them. Food shortages will not be corrected or negatively impacted by a recipe post. And if a shrimp roll recipe is the best example you can point to of privilege and you think it implies racial bias then maybe widen your perspective.
      Which brings me to this: I am over comment sections. I have beautiful bright young family members of mixed racial heritages, and a dear sister who is a police officer, and I am afraid for all of them. The stakes are so so high. The truth is that sitting at home on our laptops browsing the internet and making comments on a lifestyle blog in the name of political activism is lame and lazy, wreaks of class privilege, and it’s crippling us. It’s a delusion of engagement, from the safety of the couch. We are not “raising awareness” by hurling accusations and outrage at strangers on the internet. It’s lazy and delusional to think this is how racism is going to be addressed. Better to actually get out in our communities and engage in work that makes a difference. Do you know your local communities? Are you familiar with the non-profits in your area that are working hard everyday to offer real support? There are a lot of them, and people are turning to them for help, and they are mobilizing at local levels to respond. They need your donations, and they need you to show up. Your community needs you to show up. Do you know who your local, state, and federal representatives are? Most people don’t. Are you registered to vote? Are you working with your elected officials, either independently or through an organization, to build a relationship, represent an informed viewpoint, advocate or oppose legislation, and make constructive, impactful requests? Do you know how to communicate with your legislators and their staff in a way that will actually make a difference (it’s not by going into attack mode)? In your day to day interactions are you kind, respectful, interested, listening? Do you look for ways to connect and seek to understand other perspectives , rather than to judge and point and name-call? Do you ask “what next” and “how do we move forward” rather than “how dare you”? If the problems matter to you then get moving, get off your laptop, quit leaving blog comments, and go do something. There are lives at stake.

    • jane says...

      Everything is relative and the people crying “privilege” need to be aware of that as well. I’m certainly not buying shrimp right now but I totally enjoy the pleasures and privileges others have without feeling deprived at all, I mean, GOOD FOR THEM. My time will come and I’d like to think others will also be happy for me and inspired to fulfilL their own desires however difficult that may be – I know fulfilling my own desires is near impossible so again – it is ALL RELATIVE.

      How does one celebrate abundance and remain inclusive of the disadvantaged? By being conscious of the privilege – but still: CELEBRATING. How does a disadvantaged person be happy for the abundance of others? By being gracious to others and hopeful for themselves. YES it’s imbalanced – it has always been so because that is life. We each are given challenges to rise above and create the realities and levels of abundance we each want. Why should anyone hide their good fortune?

    • Amber says...

      She does use it! I think Cup of Jo does a good job of balancing the light and the serious. Give Joanna a break please!

  13. Em says...

    Thanks to LSH for posting about Gullah Geechee roots in South Carolina. I love learning about other cultures and went down a rabbit hole and found Kardea Brown who is on food network and has a lovely Instagram account. I would love to see a post about her – maybe the outfits series.

  14. Cate says...

    You could grate some fresh garlic and add something pickle-y like chopped pickled onions!

    • Charlotte says...

      Wow, such a horrifying (but informative!) article. I’ve been a vegan for quite a few years mostly due to ethical and environmental reasons. Articles such as this and the current news headlines about slaughterhouse workers in the US really bring into sharp focus how much consumption of these goods is a humanitarian issue as much as an ethical or environmental one. Thanks for sharing Jenny.

    • A says...

      I haven’t eaten shrimp since I learnt this a few years ago. Reading this recipe on this blog almost made me slip and say “Fuck it. Why should I care?” Thank you for the reminder. #resist #keepResisting

    • Amy says...

      I appreciate you sharing the article, but please remember that SE Asia is not the only producers of shrimp. Where I live, there is a thriving shrimping industry and I will continue to purchase freshly caught Mayport shrimp to support them. Obviously, this is dependent on your geographic location but the southeast/ gulf coast have some of the best sustainable (and delicious) shrimp out there.

    • Jenny says...

      Thanks, Jessica and Amy. Glad to hear there are better alternatives. From what I’ve read, not much shrimp sold in the US comes from wild caught shrimp (less than 10%) or domestically farmed (less than 1%). For me, the bycatch that goes along with domestic, wild caught shrimp still make that a no go for me, but it sounds like the domestically farmed shrimp could be a good option.

      Last fall the NYT said this:
      The certifications a consumer in the United States is most likely to encounter are the Global Aquaculture Alliance (G.A.A.), which has developed standards called the Best Aquaculture Practices (B.A.P.). There is also the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (A.S.C.), which is more established and widespread in Europe.

      If you see any of these abbreviations listed on the label of your frozen shrimp or at your fish market, you can go ahead and buy with confidence. (Look for at least a two-star B.A.P. rating, out of four stars.)
      https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/15/dining/shrimp-sourcing-united-states.html

      As Jessica notes, Seafood Watch is also a great resource for choosing sustainable seafood and has recently incorporated labor practices into its ratings.

  15. Aly says...

    These look delish! I look forward to making them!

  16. Linda says...

    Never tried shrimp salad – don’t think it’s really a “thing” in Ontario but this looks tasty so I might have to give it a shot.
    Question: if you’re using frozen shrimp do you thaw them out first or do you cook them right from frozen?

    • Sheree Gold says...

      You need to thaw frozen shrimp before cooking them. I don’t boil the shrimp, rather I roast them with some olive oil and seasonings as suggested by Ina Garten.

  17. Kim says...

    Dinner tonight! As it’s looking doubtful that the yearly trip upstate to Saratoga & resulting New England exploration is probably off this year (sob sob sob) this might tide us over until we can have a lobster roll by the experts….thank you Jenny! (And I’m going to add a little lovage this I think…ours came back in our herb garden from last year & it is the size of a small hydrangea…)

  18. Lorena says...

    Jenny, this look delicious! I love shrimp!
    I have everything to make these except for horseradish. I hate to ask, but do you have any recommendations on what I could use instead of horseradish? Or should I just wait and make them after our next grocery run?
    Thanks!

    • Claire says...

      I am not Jenny, but if it were me and i had no horseradish I would look around my kitchen for something a bit acidic, with a sharp kick to stir into the mayo. capers maybe? sweet hot pickles, minced? or sriracha, or cayenne, or Dijon mustard…. It might also work to mince some jalapeno or serrano pepper and add a fat squeeze of lime…

    • dana says...

      Dijon mustard, maybe?

    • Erin says...

      I’ve made a similar recipe that calls for Dijon mustard, no horseradish. A small amount of any kind of mustard could give this a bit of a kick if you don’t have or don’t like horseradish.

    • Sheree Gold says...

      How about a small amount of dijon mustard?

    • Andrea says...

      Maybe a light use of good cocktail sauce on top? Has horseradish and the Mayo creaminess might provide an interesting counterpoint to the cocktail sauce.

  19. Jessica says...

    If one has the time, using the shrimp shells to make your own aioli is a great way to dial up the shrimpy flavor (same with lobster shells/rolls). Just simmer the shells with a bay leaf and a garlic clove or chunk of leek over low heat in some oil that you already like (olive might overpower, but grapeseed or avocado would be nice). Strain, cool and make your mayo!

  20. Clau says...

    I don’t have access to horseradish where I live. What can I use instead?
    Thanks, I just need this in my summer menu.

    • Julie says...

      Maybe a dash of hot sauce or some mustard powder? Something to give it a kick.

    • Jessica says...

      Prepared horseradish (found in jars in either the mustard section or the refrigerated section of most US grocery stores) is pretty much just a more vinegary/less finely ground version of prepared wasabi paste. Maybe you can find that?

  21. Cynthia says...

    I’m curious if you find a large pot of boiling water that much preferable to an inch and a steamer basket. That’s all I have ever used to cook shrimp and while I do move them around once during the process it is definitely quick and productive!

  22. Shrimp rolls! They look good but this dyed in the wool New Englander (living in California, but Red Sox in the veins) thought you were going to say LOBSTER ROLLS!
    Even the McDonald’s up in Maine serve them in the summer.
    Love a good lobster roll!

    • sp says...

      McDonald’s lobster rolls! That is amazing!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      they serve lobster rolls at mcdonalds? that’s amazing!!

    • Jane says...

      They serve lobster rolls at some Connecticut McDonald’s.

    • Oh, yeah, they sure do!
      My sister loves em.
      I mostly just love the idea of them.

  23. Hannah says...

    Yum! I’m so excited about summer flavors that I was almost tempted to order the “C-food Salad” in our grocery delivery this week. Almost.

    I’m definitely making this! And Martin’s Potato Rolls for the win!

    • karen says...

      Ha! C-Food!

    • Lauren E. says...

      Yumm C-food. I bet it has Krab in it :)

  24. Heather says...

    Jenny these look so good! Can’t wait to try these on the patio this summer with a nice crisp glass of white. Thanks for sharing :)

  25. I have usually stayed away from shrimp salad as well, mostly due to the fact I’m not a huge fan of mayo. But I LOVE shrimp. I love how you used less mayo and can’t wait to try.

  26. Erin says...

    Om nom nom! These look very tasty!

  27. Claire says...

    oh these look absolutely delicious! I like the sound of the flavor combo: easy on the mayo, with lemon juice, fresh herbs, and horseradish.
    And thanks for sharing that you used frozen shrimp too.

  28. Teacher says...

    Why are we reading about shrimp salad when Amy Cooper, practically in COJ’s backyard, is breaking the internet? I want to hear from COJ because you always have a smart take on everything.

    • NSH says...

      Yes- let’s talk about this! We need to, especially after the #runwithmaud movement was mentioned here. These are connected- just like what’s happening in Minnesota is too.

      Perhaps even a link to Harvard’s Implicit Association test and talk about bias and association:
      https://implicit.harvard.edu/implict

      And relatedly, maybe if we do chat about shrimp salad then it is appropriate to include a discussion of the Gullah Geechee roots of shrimp salad in South Carolina…it’s so important!

    • Leigha says...

      Yes please! We need to be talking about this in all areas of our lives, every angle. It touches everything and we are all involved.

    • Lauren P. says...

      Agreed! There are more important things to discuss at this time.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      we’ve been talking about these tragedies on instagram, but would like to bring them onto the site, as well. thank you so much for your note.

    • nadine says...

      oh I had missed the news, thank you Teacher for bringing it up. It’s infuriating.. there’s so much to think about connected to it. I would love to hear your thoughts..

    • Gemma says...

      THANK YOU.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      absolutely, we’re on it! we’ll have a post up tomorrow. thank you so much xo

    • B says...

      Yes, but this is not a serious news site. If this story is “breaking the internet”, why do we need one more place to read about it? Of course these are serious issues but there’s a place for everything. Some people want an escape to read about lighter material. I just feel like sometimes people pile on and expect SO much from Cup of Jo and Joanna. “How dare she not post about this (!?) but instead that (!?), etc. Or, oh she didn’t post immediately about something so she must not care that much. I notice it more and more that someone always has something negative to say in the comments if what they want isn’t met. She can’t always be everything to everyone at all times. As she said, they have been posting about it on Instagram. Maybe she had a post in the works for the blog? If this site does not meet your needs, I am sure you can find the information elsewhere. I for one appreciate reading about a delicious Summer recipe after a long, hectic day!

    • Neela says...

      B, I completely agree with you, and have been meaning for quite some time to write something basically identical to what you wrote. While I so appreciate the intelligent and enlightening comments in this community (I really have been enriched and become a better person by reading regularly) I feel it borders on unfair that people often expect so much of Joanna and the contributors this site. I know she is a guru of humanity (and sometimes, despite the fact that she’s only a few years older than I, I wish she had been my mum 😋), but she cannot represent everyone’s views and be everyone’s champion at all times.

    • KJ says...

      B & Neela –

      I emphatically agree with you both! It boggles my mind that people come here expecting Joanna and team to do exactly what they want, when they want. This site is wonderful and it’s run by humans. Let’s take a moment and remember and appreciate the blog for what they do and who they are. Even when they are acting as you think they should be.

    • Amber says...

      With all due respect, you are free to skip the post on shrimp salad. Cup of Jo does it’s best to balance light and easy reads with topical, thought-provoking posts. All of us watch the news and many of us are burning with rage over what has happened and keeps happening but that does not mean Cup of Jo should be expected to make every post about this. It’s a lifestyle blog and it tries to touch on as much as possible about life.

  29. Laura C. says...

    I’m gonna do this right now

  30. Eli says...

    I have always hated the sight of shrimp salad and found it to be so very underwhelming and a waste of calories. Probably the too much mayo, not enough fresh shrimp taste as you have also noted. But this recipe looks delicious and I love lots of herbs. May need to give this one a try!! Happy to have summer here!

  31. Never have I ever tried Shrimp salad, but I love all other salads so I’m excited to give this a try! Looks delicious!

  32. awads says...

    i grew up in charleston, eating shrimp salad (my mom put hard boiled [pronounced: bawled] eggs in it, mayo and a touch of dijon. never ever thought to put it in a bun! I need to eat this asap!

  33. Jeannie Kim says...

    YUM. I never think to do this with shrimp, only lobster. Looks delicious.
    With the lobster salad, I use greek yogurt instead of mayo, it adds a little tang. And I think it’s a little healthier. (capers and little caper juice is nice too!)

    • Katie M. says...

      Yes to capers!

  34. Sara says...

    Sounds great! Do you prefer class mayo like Hellman’s for this or a more tangy version like Miracle Whip. Would love to make these this week! Thanks!

  35. Arpana says...

    Ooooh! This sounds so delicious & screams SUMMER :)