Shellfish rolls are a quintessential staple of New England summers. There’s the ever-popular lobster roll, of course, but crab and shrimp rolls have their places, too. All three are delicious, but shrimp is the most affordable, accessible option—especially when cooking for a crowd. I always have a bag (or two) of shrimp in the freezer so that these rolls can be made on a whim.
Since summer cooking means spending as much time outside as possible, I opt for grilling shrimp over the usual poaching for shellfish rolls. The grill does double duty here, imparting a charred, smoky flavor to the shrimp, while simultaneously leaving you with little cleanup. The best part? Shrimp cooks in under 5 minutes. Pro tip: Make sure to use at least 16/20 size shrimp to ensure that they don’t fall through the grill grates—even bigger shrimp work, too. Cooked shrimp are roughly chopped and added to a simple mayo dressing studded with scallions and celery (for some crunch), plus a good amount of lemon zest and juice, which adds a burst of acidity.
While you can of course serve these right away, I found that chilling the shrimp mixture for at least an hour, up to 24, lets the flavors fully marry together and intensify. Since this is best made ahead of time, it’s an ideal option for entertaining, leaving you with little legwork the day of. Lobster roll, who?
Note: If you don’t have access to a grill, you can still make the shrimp rolls at home. Heat a large grill pan or cast iron over medium high heat. Add half of the shrimp in an even layer and cook until bright pink, about 1 to 2 minutes. Flip the shrimp over with tongs and continue cooking until bright pink and opaque, an additional 1 to 2 minutes.
- Prep time 1 hour 20 minutes
- Cook time 4 minutes
- Serves 6
16/20 shrimp, tails removed, peeled, and deveined
1 1/2 tablespoons
extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons
kosher salt, divided
freshly ground black pepper, divided
lemon zest (from about 1 large lemon)
lemon juice (from about 1 large lemon)
scallions (about 5 to 8), light and white green parts, thinly sliced
small celery stalk, finely chopped
celery leaves, roughly chopped
New England–style top-split hot dog buns
unsalted butter, at room temperature
finely chopped chives, plus more for serving
Flaky sea salt, to serve
- Prepare a gas or charcoal grill for high heat. If using a charcoal grill, arrange the hot coals in an even layer. Let the grates heat for at least 5 minutes before grilling. If using a gas grill, set all burners to high heat.
- On a large rimmed baking sheet, pat the shrimp dry with paper towels. Drizzle the olive oil, 1 teaspoon of salt, and ½ teaspoon of pepper over the shrimp and toss until well coated.
- Before getting started, make sure to clean the grill grates. Place the shrimp on the grill and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until the shrimp turn pink on one side. Use tongs to flip the shrimp over and continue cooking for 1 to 2 minutes, until the shrimp is fully pink and opaque. Transfer the grilled shrimp to a clean cutting board and let cool to the touch. Cut the shrimp into ½-inch pieces.
- In a medium bowl, add the mayonnaise, lemon zest and juice, scallions, celery stalk and leaves, ½ teaspoon of salt, and ¼ teaspoon of pepper, and stir to combine. Add the chopped shrimp and stir until well coated. Cover the bowl and transfer to the refrigerator to chill for at least 1 hour, or up to 24.
- Spread ½ tablespoon of butter on each bun. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Open the buns up and toast them in the skillet until golden brown on both sides. Alternatively, place the buns on a grill over medium high heat until golden brown.
- Add roughly ½ cup of the shrimp mixture to each toasted bun. Sprinkle each bun with chives and flaky sea salt and serve immediately.