It is almost August. The month in which my parents would always load me and my siblings up in the car and we would head to the east coast for vacation. It was as much a search for a cool ocean breeze as it was a temporary reprieve from the mundane everyday Midwest.
Sometimes while on vacation when we would sit down to dinner at a nice restaurant my parents would indulge us. When they did I would order lobster. As a kid I loved it. What is there not to like about playing with your food? It is a distraction pretending the prehistoric monster on your plate is attacking the table while the adults sip their coffee and converse. There is a silent cheer in your head after you defeat the monster with a hammer and pick leaving behind nothing but empty body parts void of flesh.
Since being a kid, I haven’t eaten much lobster because years ago my taste for it waned. I don’t hate lobster but my feelings about it have changed. I believe it to be over rated. As an adult I think lobster is a pain to cook, let alone eat, and on top of that it feels like it is a foil for butter much in the same way the white is a foil for the creamy yolks of a deviled egg. I need say nothing of the cost per pound.
On the other hand shrimp is accessible, and in this sandwich there are plenty of complementary flavors, like cucumber, celery and spice, and classics like Old Bay seasoning are perfect. As a home cook shrimp is familiar, the fear of over cooking a lobster is a big factor to not cooking it, while shrimp are easy and take less time to prepare. The flavor of shrimp also plays a large roll in this new favorite because it is consistent. In other words with shrimp I know what I am going to get.
A lobster roll is a great sandwich, most assuredly an indulgence, but a shrimp roll is no less a treat not to mention much easier on your pocket book.
Summertime Shrimp Rolls (Makes 4 Sandwiches)
- 1 baby cucumber, cut into half moons (about 1/2 cup)
8 sugar snap peas, cut crosswise into thin rounds (about 1/3 cup)
1 lb. (450g) raw deveined shrimp (size 26-30)
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
fresh ground black pepper
4 brioche hot dog buns, or whatever hot dog bun you prefer
1. To cook the shrimp place a 3.5 quart (3.5L) pot filled with 2 quarts (2L) cold water over high heat. Add 2 tablespoon of salt to the pot and bring the water to a roiling boil.
2. Add the shrimp and cook them for 3 to 4 minutes. Drain the shrimp into a strainer and run cold water over the shrimp. Remove the shells.
3. Chop the shrimp into 1/2-inch (1.25cm) pieces.
4. In a small mixing bowl combine cucumber, sugar snaps, shrimp, zest, juice and mayonnaise, Old Bay, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a few grinds of fresh ground black pepper. Mix everything.
5. Split the buns from the top being careful not to cut them completely in half, line with leaves of lettuce and top with shrimp salad. Serve.