No Close Shrimp Rolls

I was first introduced to seafood rolls – to be more precise, Lobster Rolls – in Boston, MA while visiting for Christmas with my husband Rob.  I absolutely adored them.  However, living in Dubai you can’t always find good quality lobster.  When you do, it’s very expensive and hard on the budget.  I’d rather save lobster for a proper dinner with lots of corn and melted butter.

The Arabian Gulf and its vicinity is abundant with great seafood.  I found some really nice shrimp the other day and I thought this would be a perfect substitute for the lobster.  So I decided a tasty shrimp roll would be just the right kind of dinner for the two of us.

Pick up a kilo (2 lbs 3 oz) of medium/large shrimp. This will yield around 600 g (1 lbs 5 oz) of cleaned shrimp ready for the pan.

I think it’s more convenient to prepare the dressing first.  Cook the shrimp last so they are still warm when served.  Combine all the creamy stuff along with mayonnaise, lemon juice (or lime juice, whatever floats your boat) and ½ of the herbs. Mix together with fork and put in the fridge.  Slice the cucumbers and onions and set aside.  I like to use red onions because they are sweet and aromatic and, at least to my taste, they blend really well with the other ingredients without overtaking.  But cooking is (and should be) a matter of personal preference, so please feel free to use whichever onions you prefer.  20171005_141341

Now the shrimp.  In a large pan heat up some olive oil.  You want to have a hot pan to cook the shrimp quickly.  Place shrimp in the pan, make sure there is enough space so they are not too crowded.  You may need to do two or more batches depending on the size of your pan.

Cook until crisp outside and tender inside; around 2-3 minutes each side.  If overcooked, they will become rubbery, so you need to be quick.

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Literally 30 seconds before the end sprinkle in the parsley, toss them around to mix and plate immediately.

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Last but not least the rolls. Get your hands on some hot dog style rolls and – if not pre-sliced – slice them carefully not to separate them.  Melt half a teaspoon of butter in the pan and keep the fire medium to low. Place them in the pan, open face down for about 3 minutes I would say, or until they become lightly golden. Brush the outside of the bun with more butter and flip them. If you want them to brown just a bit and remain soft then 2 minutes are enough. Whereas 3-4 minutes will give you a more browned and crisper roll.

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Putting it altogether…  There are several ways one can fill up their roll.  I will explain two here.  I prefer to brush the sides with dressing and layer the onions, cucumbers, more dressing and then the shrimp. Use enough dressing so everything sticks together nicely.

The other way is a more typical New England style. Instead of slicing the veggies, just rough chop them, cut the shrimp up, mix everything together with the dressing and fill up the rolls.

I served the rolls in the less traditional way.  Rob loved it, but just before he finished his first roll he declared that he would chop everything up and make his second roll New England style! Unfortunately, it was the night time so I could not take a decent photo of it.

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Serves 4-5

Ingredients

  • 1 kg (2 lbs 3 oz) of whole shrimp
  • 1 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 medium cucumbers, sliced
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup crème fraiche
  • 1 tbsp cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp cilantro
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced thinly
  • 4-5 buns plus 1 tbsp of butter

 

Directions

First make the dressing. Combine all the creamy stuff along with mayonnaise, lemon juice and ½ of the herbs. Mix together with fork and put in the fridge.

Slice the cucumbers and onions and set aside.

In a large pan heat up some olive oil. When pan is hot put in the shrimp and cook around 2-3 minutes each side. Careful not to overcook them because they will become rubbery. 30 seconds before the end sprinkle the parsley, toss them around and plate immediately.

Get some hot dog style rolls and – if not pre-sliced – slice them carefully not to separate them. Melt half a teaspoon of butter in the pan and keep the fire medium to low. Place them in the pan, open face down for about 3 minutes I would say, or until they become lightly golden. Brush the outside of the bun with more butter and flip them. If you want them to brown just a bit and remain soft then 2 minutes are enough. Whereas 3-4 minutes will give you a more browned and crisper roll.

You can either brush the sides with dressing and layer the onions, cucumbers, more dressing and then the shrimp. Put enough dressing so everything sticks together nicely. Or you can do the New England style. Roughly chop the veggies, cut the shrimp up, mix altogether with dressing and fill up the rolls.

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