Recipe: Spicy shrimp salad on buttery toasted bun tastes like day at the beach

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Spicy shrimp roll. (The Washington Post photo/Tom McCorkle)

Cold seafood salad at the seashore is a favorite summer tradition. While strolling the beach has been curtailed for many this season, you can still  satisfy cravings for one half of that hot-weather combo.

Many styles of seafood salad exist, but I love to toss quick-cooking fish or shrimp in a bowl with something creamy, like mayonnaise or yogurt, a few crunchy add-ins, like celery or water chestnuts, and then any variety of peppers, herbs and spices.

One of my favorites is this shrimp salad sandwich that plays like a homage to the lobster roll. It delivers that same juxtaposition of a chilled, creamy concoction tucked inside a warm, crispy buttered bun.

Traditional lobster rolls are pretty mild, letting that pricey crustacean be the star with just a few ingredients, such as mayonnaise, parsley and lemon. I take a few liberties with the concept. For one, I add corn into the mix because I love the bit of sweetness and color it gives to the salad.

I started doing this back home in New Orleans, where I usually made this shrimp roll with leftovers from a summer boil that included very spicy corn on the cob in the big pot.

With the spiced-from-the-boil ingredients, the mixture had kick from the get-go. To get closer to that level of heat with stove-top boiled shrimp and frozen corn, I added more hot sauce this time as well as horseradish and cayenne. It delivers that same little tingle on the tongue.

If you like it milder, cut back a bit on those, combine the salad and then adjust the spiciness to suit your taste.

The salad tastes great on lettuces and on crackers, but I like it best on a griddled, top-split hot dog bun. It only takes a couple of minutes to brush the bread with softened butter and toast it facedown in a skillet until it is golden.

The salad can be prepared a day ahead – in fact, it tastes even better after it rests a bit – but save the bun toasting until just before you serve the sandwich.

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Storage: The shrimp salad can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Make ahead: The salad tastes best if refrigerated for at least 30 minutes before serving

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Spicy Shrimp Rolls

Serves 6


2 celery stalks, finely chopped

1/4 cup mayonnaise, or more as desired

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or more to taste

2 tablespoons horseradish

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more to taste

A few dashes of hot sauce (optional)

1 pound medium shrimp, boiled, peeled, deveined and roughly chopped (see NOTE)

1 cup frozen corn, defrosted (optional)

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, plus more for optional garnish

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, or more if needed, room temperature

6 split-top hot dog buns

Lemon wedges, for serving (optional)

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Step 1

In a large bowl, combine the celery, mayonnaise, lemon juice, horseradish, salt, cayenne and hot sauce, if using, and stir well.

Step 2

Add the shrimp, corn, if using, and parsley, and toss until coated in the dressing. Taste and add more mayonnaise or adjust seasonings, if desired.

Step 3

When ready to serve, warm a large skillet over medium heat. Spread some butter on the insides of the buns. Gently press the buns, buttered side down, into pan and cook until golden, about 2 minutes. Then, close the bun and butter and toast the outside, if desired, about 2 minutes. Fill with the shrimp salad, garnish with the additional parsley, if desired, and serve with lemon wedges, if desired.

NOTE: To cook the shrimp, peel and devein them, removing the tails. Bring a medium pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add the shrimp and return to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and poach the shrimp until pink and curled, 2 to 3 minutes. Test a shrimp to see that it is done and opaque throughout, then drain. Cooking time may vary with the size of the shrimp.

Nutrition/calories: 297; Total Fat: 13 g; Saturated Fat: 3 g; Cholesterol: 180 mg; Sodium: 943 mg; Carbohydrates: 24 g; Dietary Fiber: 1 g; Sugars: 4 g; Protein: 20 g.

Ann Maloney is recipes editor for The Washington Post. Each week, she writes the Dinner in Minutes recipe column.

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