1/2 pound medium shell-on shrimp: $3.50
2 hot dog buns (pro-rated): $0.79
Bunch celery: $0.99 Bunch chives: $1.49 1 egg (pro-rated): $0.20 1 lemon: $0.35
Pantry items: Vegetable oil, white wine or cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, butter
Total cost: $7.32
In the days before air-conditioners, New Yorkers would go to considerable lengths to avoid roasting in their tenements. The blog Ephemeral New York lists some of them, from camping out on the fire escape to pitching a tent in Central Park. In August 1938, the temperature hit 93°F:
"More than 3,000 persons slept on the sand at Coney Island and Brighton Beach to escape the heat last night, the police estimated. Ten additional patrolmen were assigned to the area to prevent molestation of the sleepers, many of whom brought blankets and sheets." --The New York Times
As I write this, the mercury is set to creep up to 95. It is, in the words of Cole Porter, too darn hot. Being fortunate enough to own an air-conditioner, I've so far been able to avoid the drastic measures of yesteryear. Still, I do battle with the siesta-monster on a daily basis, and if I had a hideaway in Montauk, I'd be hiding there right now. But I don't, so I just pretend I'm by the sea--and these shrimp rolls do a pretty good job of setting the scene.
In this everyday alternative to the pricier lobster roll, poached shrimp are mixed with just a little diced celery, dressed in a homemade chive mayo, and piled into a butter-seared hot dog bun. (I love the sweetness of a Martin's potato roll.) Serve with a handful of your favorite potato chips--lately, I've been devouring Zapp's Cajun Crawtators, a supremely crackly chip with a wallop of Old Bay--and forget, for just a moment, that infernal heat.
You can save a few bucks per pound if you peel and devein your own shrimp. It's a little time-consuming, but certainly not difficult. Deveining beginners may find this this instructional video helpful.
- 1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 rib celery, finely diced
- Two tablespoons chive mayo (recipe follows)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon butter (optional)
- 2 hot dog buns
- Minced chives for garnish
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar or cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Gently slip in the cleaned shrimp and cook until pink and firm, 2 to 3 minutes. Do not overcook or shrimp will be tough. Drain and rinse under cold running water until cool to the touch.
Using a small paring knife, slice the shrimp in half lengthways, as shown.
Place halved shrimp, diced celery and two tablespoons of chive mayonnaise in a mixing bowl and toss to coat. Add more mayonnaise if a creamier consistency is desired. Check seasoning. Cover and refrigerate, for up to 2 days, until ready to use.
Optional: In a small sauté pan over low heat, melt the butter. Place the hot dog buns cut-side down in the butter. When the butter is soaked up and the buns are brown, remove buns from pan and transfer to plate. Spoon chilled shrimp mixture evenly between buns and garnish with chopped chives.
Alternatively, omit the butter step and spoon the shrimp mixture straight into the cold buns. Garnish with chopped chives.
Adapted from the basic mayonnaise recipe at Epicurious.
- makes about 1 cup -
Whisk together yolk, mustard, and 1/4 teaspoon salt until combined well.
Add about 1/4 cup oil drop by drop, whisking constantly until mixture begins to thicken.
Whisk in vinegar and lemon juice, then add remaining 1/2 cup oil in a very slow, thin stream, whisking constantly until well blended.
If at any time it appears that oil is not being incorporated, stop adding oil and whisk mixture vigorously until smooth, then continue adding oil.
Check seasoning. Stir in minced chives. Chill, surface covered with plastic wrap, until ready to use. Keeps, covered and refrigerated, for 2 days.