New England Shrimp Rolls are the stuff foodie memories are made of…jumbo chunks of shrimp simply tossed with mayo and lemon and then stuffed into a butter toasted bun ~ life (and lunch!) doesn’t get any better.
these meaty shrimp rolls have a sweet taste that resembles lobster
One of my greatest food memories are the amazing lobster rolls I enjoyed every summer on the coast of Maine. If you’ve ever spent any time in New England you’ll know all about lobster rolls. People look forward to them for months, and they’ll drive all day and all night just to satisfy their craving. But since I no longer live in an area where I can get them, I’ve come up with a new summer memory-maker ~ shrimp rolls!
the secret to great shrimp rolls
You don’t want to overwhelm the delicate flavor or texture with lots of extras. Purists will tell you that the classic New England roll is done in one of two ways ~ dressed with drawn butter, or with mayo ~ that is, with nothing else to interfere with the enjoyment of the pure shellfish. Today I’m going the mayo route, but I’ll jazz it up a little bit ~ I can’t help myself.
what you’ll need
- shrimp ~ either fresh or frozen
- salt and pepper
- hot dog buns (top split if possible!)
frozen shrimp makes summer shrimp rolls so convenient
I love this meal because I don’t have to think very far in advance to get it on the table. If I don’t have fresh shrimp, no worries, I always have a bag of frozen peeled and deveined shrimp in the freezer. Fresh shrimp only lasts a day or two, but I can have shrimp at the ready in my freezer for a month or more. And frozen shrimp is often ‘fresher’ than the so called fresh shrimp in your supermarket. It has been flash frozen right on the boats, and stays that way, while ‘fresh’ shrimp has been thawed, and you can’t be sure how long it’s been hanging around.
how to thaw frozen shrimp
- method #1: Put your shrimp in a colander and run cool water over it until thawed, this will take just a few minutes, depending on how much shrimp you are thawing.
- method #2: Place your shrimp in a bowl of cold water and let sit for 5-10 minutes. You can also place your shrimp in a zip lock bag first, before immersing in water.
how to cook frozen shrimp for shrimp shrimp salad
- I just put my thawed shrimp into the steamer insert of my big stockpot and add just enough water to come up to the holes of the basket.
- Then I bring it to a boil, let it steam for a minute or two until the shrimp have started to curl and turn opaque, then shut off the heat, cover, and let sit for 5 minutes. The shrimp are perfectly tender and delicious.
- You could also saute them in butter for a more decadent flavor, but either way it takes just minutes.
how to make a classic shrimp roll
1. I want to have nice chunky pieces of shrimp for my rolls, so I only cut them in half for this recipe. Easy peasy. If your shrimp is larger, cut them in a large dice. Make sure they’re nice and dry.
2. Toss the shrimp in a simple dressing: mine is just mayo, onion, celery, and lemon juice with a little salt and pepper.
3. The next step, and it’s an important one ~ is to brush your rolls with melted butter and then grill or toast them. That buttery crunch of the toasted roll is a big part of the magic of this dish, so don’t skip this step!
4. Then stuff ~ and I do mean stuff ~ your bun with the shrimp salad.
5. Add chips, dill pickles and a wedge of lemon. You’re set.
the ‘thing’ about New England shrimp rolls is their simplicity.
So for this salad I’m going for the absolute minimum, the basics, like good mayo, some finely minced onion and celery, a squeeze of lemon, a good handful of snipped chives, salt and pepper, and that’s it. Could you get more creative? Sure, check out my ‘Make it your own’ suggestions under the recipe. But I suggest making the classic shrimp rolls before you mess with perfection 😉
coleslaw is a classic accompaniment to shrimp rolls.
Any of mine from the blog would work perfectly, I’d suggest my Vidalia onion slaw, (remember you can use any sweet onion for this) my red cabbage and dill slaw, or, if you like a little kick, my classic vinegar slaw. Line your buns with the slaw before loading up with shrimp salad, or serve it on the side.
more summer shrimp recipes
- Mediterranean Orzo Salad with Shrimp
- Pink Pineapple Shrimp Skewers (with huli huli sauce)
- Lemon Garlic Shrimp with Orzo
- Shrimp Taco Salad
- Low Country Shrimp Boil
- Creamy Shrimp Bisque
- Chimichurri Shrimp
- Shrimp in Romesco Sauce
- Shrimp in Lemon Sauce with Olives
New England Style Shrimp Roll
- paprika or Old Bay seasoning
- snipped chives
- If your shrimp are frozen, thaw the shrimp under cool running water for a few minutes until softened, and then steam it or sauté it just until cooked through. Let cool then give them a rough chop.
- Put the shrimp in a bowl and toss with the mayo, onions, celery, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Taste the salad to adjust any of the seasonings. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
- Melt the butter and brush onto the open buns. Grill for a few minutes until toasty.
- Serve the shrimp salad in toasted buns, topped with a sprinkle of paprika or Old Bay, and some snipped chives.
- To cut the fat in these New England style shrimp rolls use low fat mayo, or half Greek yogurt and half mayo.
- For an extra kick, top with pickled jalapeños.
- For a low carb option line small bowls or glasses with lettuce and or diced avocado, and then spoon the shrimp salad over top.