One of the best appetizers I’ve ever had was an order of fried green tomatoes topped with pickled shrimp and remoulade sauce, and it’s the first thing that came to mind when I was walking through my local produce store and saw that they had a nice pile of green tomatoes available. But I knew D wouldn’t go for that as a dinner option, because he doesn’t like tomatoes. So Plan B: shrimp burgers. That way I could top my burger, and he could top his (I added bacon on his behalf), and the meal wouldn’t be based on something I knew he wouldn’t even try.
Since they were going to be topped with fried tomatoes and covered in spicy sauce, I thought it would be better to keep the burgers relatively simple, so I added fresh bread crumbs, a little egg and mayo for binding, and a hit of Old Bay. I think it worked really well; the moist shrimp burger, plus the tart, crispy tomatoes, and creamy, spicy sauce was a nice combination. The only thing I didn’t care for was the cracked wheat buns I used, which turned out to be distractingly sweet. I ended up eating around the bread, but would definitely do these again with a more neutral-tasting bun.
Shrimp Burgers with Remoulade Sauce
1lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 slices fresh sandwich bread
2 scallions, finely chopped
1½ tsp Old Bay
1 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp chopped parsley
Fresh lemon (for squeezing over the finished patties)
1 large green tomato, thickly sliced (a little over ¼” each)
¼ cup cornmeal
2 tbsp flour
Seasoned salt (plain salt is fine if that’s all you have)
Fresh ground pepper
½ cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp whole grain mustard
2 tsp capers
½ of a celery stalk
1 large scallion
3 cloves garlic
Juice of 1 medium lemon
Healthy splash of Worcestershire (about ½ tsp)
1 tsp horseradish
½ tsp smoked paprika
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
4 slices of bacon
4 large lettuce leaves
4 large hamburger buns, toasted
Extra vegetable oil, for frying
- For the remoulade: combine all of the ingredients for the sauce in the bowl of a food processor, and process until smooth and fully combined. Pour into a small bowl and set aside (you can make this in advance and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve).
- For the shrimp burgers: pulse the bread in the food processor until you have fine crumbs. Pour the crumbs into a small bowl and set aside.
- Put 3/4 of the shrimp in the food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the rest of the shrimp and pulse again, briefly, just to roughly chop the remaining shrimp. You want a combination of big and small pieces.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the next 5 ingredients for the burgers, then fold in the chopped shrimp and breadcrumbs. Form 4 equal sized shrimp patties and lay them on a plate. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes, to firm them up.
- While the patties are chilling, fry the bacon in a large, heavy skillet until crisp. Remove the bacon to a plate lined with a paper towel and set aside, reserving the drippings. Add enough vegetable oil to bring the oil level up to about half an inch.
- For the fried tomatoes: combine the flour and cornmeal. Season both sides of each tomato slice with the seasoned salt and pepper, then dredge the seasoned sliced in the cornmeal mixture, patting it into the tomatoes to form a crust. Fry the breaded tomatoes over medium-high heat until golden brown on both sides, taking care not to crowd the pan. Remove to a wire rack and keep warm.
- Fry the shrimp patties in the same pan, until crisp and brown on both sides. Remove to a wire rack.
- To serve, layer a lettuce leaf, shrimp patty, fried tomato and bacon slice on the bottom of each bun. Top each burger liberally with the remoulade, and finish with the other half of the bun.