When my husband and I were dating, I noticed right away that he was a carnivore to the core. Not me. I can go weeks without eating red meat and many days without any other type of meat. You might say I’m semi-vegetarian. If I ordered a spinach-feta wrap at Starbucks for a quick breakfast, back then he’d say something like “there’s no meat in that,” and I’d say, “I know.” If for dinner I had, say, salad nicoise, he’d mention something about the salmon being “fake meat.” For him if there was no sausage, a burger, or any kind of on-the-bone red meat or fried chicken, then it was “fake meat,” and the meal simply did not work for him.
Fast forward, and I’ve made a baby step of progress: We’ve been conscientiously doing Meatless Monday for years. No red meat, no chicken or pork. Seafood is allowed; it was the only way he’d agree to it. That sent me in search of yummy seafood recipes to add to my repertoire, and this is one of my all-time favorites for a casual meal.
They’re so light, chock full of shrimp, super flavorful, and they keep well in the fridge for about five days. They are versatile. I’ve served them for dinner on toasted brioche with baked sweet potato wedges; for breakfast with sunny side up eggs, avocado, and toast; also for dinner with a little rice and teriyaki sauce and sautéed veggies. I served these for a dinner in the days leading up to Thanksgiving, and my relatives raved about them and requested the recipe.
Yield: 4 burgers
Note: Use raw, not cooked shrimp. Dry the shrimp thoroughly before processing, or the burgers will be mushy. Handle the burgers gently when shaping and grilling; if over-handled while being shaped the burgers will be dense and rubbery, and if handled roughly during cooking, they will break apart. If using shrimp with sodium added as a preservative, omit the salt in the recipe.
- 1 slice hearty white sandwich bread, torn into large pieces
- 1½ pounds extra-large shrimp (21 to 25 per pound), peeled, deveined, and patted dry
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 2 scallions, minced
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
- 2 teaspoons grated fresh lemon zest
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon pepper
- Vegetable oil for cooking (about 1 to 2 teaspoons)
Pulse bread in food processor to fine crumbs, 10 to 15 pulses; transfer to bowl. Pulse shrimp in now-empty food processor until some pieces are finely minced and others are coarsely chopped about 7 pulses. Transfer shrimp to large bowl.
Combine mayo, scallions, parsley, lemon zest, cayenne, salt, and pepper in large bowl until uniform, ten gently food into processed shrimp until just combined. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over mixture and gently fold until thoroughly incorporated.
Divide shrimp mixture into 4 equal portions and shape each into 1-inch-thick patty. Cover and refrigerate patties for at least 30 minutes or up to 3 hours.
Heat skillet to medium-high heat and add oil. Heat to smoking and add burgers, cooking until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Flip and repeat. Serve.