Cold seafood salad at the seashore is one of my favorite summer traditions. While strolling the beach has been curtailed this season, I still satisfied my craving 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.
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
Spicy Shrimp Rolls
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)
In a large bowl, combine the celery, mayonnaise, lemon juice, horseradish, salt, cayenne and hot sauce, if using, and stir well.
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.
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.