Don’t you hate when you are craving something? I get in these moods where I start thinking about a food and have tunnel vision. I go to a restaurant and feel sad if they don’t have it. I start reading recipes to figure out how I can make it at home. I plan ahead on my weekly menu to make sure I can create the dish without any life disturbances. It is all laid out beautifully and my cravings usually don’t go longer than a week or two.
My big issue living in a small town is finding all the ingredients. Usually there is some room for improvisation. I can switch up an herb or vegetable and still feel my craving has been satisfied.
The problem with my cravings is that sometimes it is a component of the dish I am craving and not necessarily the classic preparation of a dish. Think spaghetti and meatballs…I can waive the shape of my pasta as long as my sauce and meatballs are good. Mac and cheese doesn’t always have to be “yellow” as long as you get your gooey cheese on pasta fix. Pizza, sushi and tacos are probably the most versatile of cravings because you can always find a way to mix it up and satisfy your needs.
But the other day, I had an issue. I wanted a lobster roll. I just kept thinking about those big sweet tender chunks of lobster dressed ever so lightly in a flavorful mayonnaise and served in a buttery top split bun. It screams summer time to me and I wanted one VERY badly.
I started my quest to find my ingredients and went for a beautiful French brioche bun. Lightly toasted these babies would be the vessel I needed to present my lobster….but then it happened….I forgot where I lived….where am I going to find lobster in our little town? (Or should I say good fresh lobster?)
I checked a couple of markets near us and all they had were those little baby lobster tails (or as I call them…. shrimp on steroids) and I thought the price was nuts especially since they were chunked with ice and looked like they had been thawed and refrozen. Would I get indigestion because I would be mad at myself for buying something I didn’t want? Would I feel sad? I hate feeling sad.
What I did find when I was out was some Key West Pink Shrimp. (They start off pink and turn almost opaque when cooked.) They were brought in for a seafood road show and looked amazing….but could I turn my longing for a lobster roll into a shrimp roll? Would I be satisfied or would I still be pining away for my lobster roll.
I already had the pretty little rolls and didn’t want to waste them. I decided it was time to fish or cut bait….get the shrimp.
I deveined my shrimp (I hate this part but it is a necessarily evil) and tossed them with a tiny bit of old bay seasoning and lemon juice. I let them sit about 30 minutes in the fridge. I got a pot of salted water boiling and tossed in the shrimp for about 2-3 minutes. (Timing depends on the size of your shrimp.) I drained them immediately and let some cold-water rinse over them. The shells peeled right off. (I like to cook them in the shell for the extra flavor.) I roughly chopped the shrimp into big chunks.
In a medium bowl, I mixed a couple of tablespoons of mayo, old bay seasoning, lemon juice, celery, green onion and dill. I folded the shrimp in and placed it all in the fridge while I got the rolls ready.
I melted a tiny bit of butter and brushed it on the inside of the roll. Broiling for a minute or two (I like my rolls with a little extra brown on them) and ta-dah….I was ready to add my shrimp.
I gently add the shrimp salad. It looked beautiful but how would it fulfill my craving? It was sooooooo goooooood!!! It (obviously) was a lobster roll but it was absolutely delicious and only a monster would snub their nose if this was placed in front of them
My desire was fulfilled. I know I won’t always be able to find the Key West Shrimp but I think this would be great with any shrimp (or lobster if you have one handy.)
Not a Lobster Roll Shrimp Salad
1 pound Key West Shrimp
1 tsp Old bay seasoning (split in half)
1 lemon (split in half)
a couple of Tablespoons good mayonnaise
2 stalks of celery, tiny dice
2 green onions, tiny dice
2 Tablespoons fresh dill
Brioche hot dog buns (St. Pierre hot dog buns were PERFECT)
Devein your shrimp.
Add to a bowl with ½ tsp of Old Bay and juice from ½ of a lemon. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Put a saucepan filled with water and about 1 Tbsp kosher salt on the stove to boil.
Cook shrimp for 2-3 minutes. The Key West Shrimp start out pink but turn opaquer after they cook. If you are cooking “regular” shrimp, they will go from their natural color to pink. The key is to not overcook them.
Drain and cool immediately.
Remove shells and roughly chop.
In a medium bowl, mix 1 Tablespoon of mayonnaise with celery, onions, dill and the other half of the Old Bay. Mix in the chopped shrimp. I added more lemon because I love lemon that is up to you. Plus, I also added another Tablespoon of mayonnaise because I like when the mayo gets soaked into the bun.
Brush the brioche buns with melted butter and broil until they are a little brown (or very brown…whatever floats your boat.)
Fill with shrimp mixture. (I was able to make 4 sandwiches.