Spring on the Georgia coast is a beautiful thing. The daytime weather seems to linger around a perfect 74 degrees with cool nighttime temps around 62 degrees. It’s the kind of weather that makes a girl think she is back on the California coast and not the semi tropical next door neighbor to Florida. When the weather is this good I start cooking food that is made to be eaten outside. On a bench, under a tree, or on a blanket, all meals must be portable and picnic worthy.
I have been making a variation of this recipe for over 5 years now. A cousin to the New England lobster roll, I make a shrimp salad and pile it high on a soft roll garnished with crunchy butterhead lettuce. Cumberland was my original muse in creating this dish. Cumberland Island sits north of Amelia Island Florida, which some say was the birthplace of the modern shrimping industry. It is home of the annual shrimp festival which takes place on the first weekend of May. Wild caught white shrimp are some of the best in the world and I am usually trying to find a way to work them into every dish come shrimp season.
This is a meal that can be used for lunch or dinner, for an outdoor picnic or indoor movie night. Look for wild caught Georgia or Florida shrimp if your in the South or substitute with a high quality domestic shrimp.
Southern Shrimp Roll
Yields 3 cups Shrimp Salad/ Around 6 shrimp rolls
1 pound medium sized shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons celery, small diced
2 tablespoons, fennel small diced
1 tablespoons shallot, small diced
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Worcestershire
3/4 teaspoon tabasco
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon minced chive
1/2 teaspoon minced parsley
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
6 soft rolls or hotdog buns
1 head butterhead lettuce or romaine
In a medium sized pot add 2 quarts of water, bay leaf, and 1 lemon cut in half and squeezed into the water. Bring the water to a simmer. Add in the shrimp and poach over medium heat until cooked through, about 2 minutes. Remove the shrimp and place in an ice water bath to stop them from cooking further. Drain shrimp and dice into small, bite size pieces. In a bowl add diced shrimp and the remaining ingredients. Mix until combined.
To assemble, stuff each roll with a few leaves of bibb lettuce and about 1/2 cup of the shrimp salad. Garnish with chives and serve with your favorite potato chip.