March 15, 2010

Carolina Shrimp Burgers

1 1/2 lb peeled steamed shrimp, chopped
1 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs (I used some slightly stale artisan white)
1/4 cup diced green onion
1/4 cup diced celery
3 tablespoons minced Italian parsley
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon malt vinegar
2 eggs, beaten
zest of one lemon

canola oil

Place all ingredients in a large bowl. Stir to evenly combine. Form into six flat patties. Refrigerate (line a plate with waxed paper to prevent sticking) for about 30 minutes or until ready to use, up to one day. Heat a tablespoon or so of oil in a large skillet. Cook the burgers for about 3 minutes on each side (flip carefully, burgers made with cooked shrimp are somewhat fragile) or until golden. Serve on soft buns with tarter sauce (and tomato & lettuce if tomatoes are in season).

My thoughts:
Maryland is all about the crab cake so when I heard people mentioning how much they were looking forward to having shrimp burgers this summer, I wasn't familiar but I was intrigued. Apparently they are the crab cakes (or lobster roll) of the coastal area of the Carolinas. That's all I needed to hear! We're already planning two trips this year but neither is down South so I figured I'd better make my own. I am not sure these are 100% authentic-I've heard the way they are served varies wildly depending on the restaurant-but they are 100% delicious. They have a bright, fresh shrimp flavor that is accented, not overpowered by the ingredients. They are a bit rustic so don't be surprised if they crumble a bit once you put them in the bun and bite down. A great, easy alternative to the typical burger.

Quick note:
Try and use fresh (never frozen) shrimp, they are a bit moister and will stick together easier than the drier frozen shrimp do. If using previously frozen, you might need at add more mayo. Of course, if your fresh shrimp is very moist, you might need more bread crumbs. The idea is to bind the burger just enough so it doesn't fall apart in the pan.