It’s the middle of July and I feel like I am constantly craving a cold glass of Rosé and a lobster roll! On a hot day, give me either one (Or better yet, BOTH!) and I’ll be happy as a clam. There’s something about tender lobster that has so much flavor cooked into it, paired with a lemony and zesty sauce that just screams summer to me.
Unfortunately, there are a couple of things that keep me from eating lobster rolls every day.
- The price – For a GOOD roll in New York, sometimes I’m paying an arm and a leg!
- The Mayonnaise – Don’t get me wrong, I love Mayo! But so often they drown the poor lobster in so much of it that you can barely taste the star of the dish.
- The size – It feels like every lobster roll that I get is the tiniest little sandwich. I’m a small girl but I can put away a lot of lobster rolls!
All of these things led me to want to try to create my own version at home. I went to the store so excited to make this for dinner, but could not find lobster anywhere! I was so heartbroken. The ingredient list is so simple I couldn’t believe I wasn’t going to be able to make these for my fiancé (that is still so weird to say!!!) who loves lobster rolls just as much as I do. Plus, I had already talked them up so much and he was so excited that I felt terrible when I couldn’t find the one thing I needed to make this dish! So I walked around for a few minutes trying to decide what else I could possibly make, and it dawned on me. Just substitute shrimp! It has a similar texture and if I cook it in a broth, I think I can get away with it 😉
I think that, to date, this has to be my best fix yet! They turned out perfectly. The shrimp sauteed in a flavorful lemon, white wine, and butter sauce were so perfectly cooked they melted in your mouth. Covered in a simple sauce loaded with crisp celery and a hint of Old Bay, these healthier Shrimp Rolls were dynamite!
I did not want to take out all of the mayonnaise because I think it has a crucial tart element that you need to cut the creaminess of the seafood. I went with olive oil mayo and substituted the majority of it for plain Greek yogurt to make it even healthier. (The result was so good I was dipping my Old Bay french fries right into it!!!)
These rolls are so easy to pull together in less than an hour and, honestly, way easier and cheaper than trying to cook and peel a whole lobster!
“Poor Mans” Lobster Roll
- Soft White Rolls (I prefer rolls cut down the top-center as opposed to hot dog buns that are cut down the side. It makes it easier to hold, eat, and mop up the sauce!)
- Shrimp – Raw, de-veined, de-tailed, cut in half
- 2 Lemons – Juiced and separated (save the rind)
- 3/4 cup of White Wine
- Butter – 1 Tbsp
- Garlic – Finely chopped, to taste
- 2 Green Onions – 1 Cut into 3″ stalks, the other finely chopped
- Celery (Stalk and Leaves) – Cut into 3″ stalks
- Plain Greek Yogurt
- Olive Oil Mayonnaise
- Old Bay Seasoning – 1 tsp and to taste
- Salt and Pepper – To taste
- Paprika – For garnish
- In a large, flat saute pan heat olive oil. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the large stalks of celery and green onion, as well as the rind of 1 lemon. Add the Old Bay seasoning and salt and pepper. Cook until the greens are slightly wilted and the spices are lightly toasted. Add the juice of 1 lemon and the wine. Bring to a soft boil.
- As soon as the broth begins to boil, reduce the heat and add 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the shrimp, stirring constantly to ensure they are cooked evenly in the sauce. Once they are almost completely pink, but still have a few grey spots or grayish hue, turn off the heat. (This is very important so that you don’t end up with ping-pong balls for shrimp!) The shrimp will continue to cook in the hot broth even though the heat source is turned off. Let sit 5-7 minutes until shrimp are completely pink and cooked through.
- Separate the cooked shrimp from the sauce, transfer the shrimp to a bowl and place in fridge or freezer to cool.
- In a separate bowl, combine 1/3* olive oil mayonnaise and 2/3* plain Greek yogurt. (*These are not cups! I don’t give exact measurements here because it depends on how much sauce you like, and I did it to taste. It was roughly 1 tablespoon of mayo to every 2 tablespoons of yogurt, give or take.)
- Slowly add the juice of the second lemon until you reach your desired level of acidity. (I only used about 1/2 of the lemon juice.) You can also use a tablespoon of the cooking broth if you want a deeper seafood flavor!
- Add a handful of chopped celery and green onion to the yogurt mixture and combine, here you can add as much or as little as you like. I am a fan of the crunch factor so I go really heavy on the greens!
- Season the yogurt mixture with salt, pepper, and a dash of Old Bay seasoning, again all to taste. Allow to sit for at least 10 minutes for the flavors to meld.
- Once the shrimp has been fully chilled, mix the yogurt mixture into the shrimp 1 spoonful at a time. (Air on the smaller size of your spoonfuls to start, you can always add more yogurt to the shrimp but once you add too much you can’t take it out!)
- Slice your rolls down the center of the top, Scoop out a small section in the middle. Fill the rolls with the shrimp and yogurt mixture until they are full.
- Garnish with more celery, green onion, and paprika!
I couldn’t have a “lobster” roll without french fries!! I used frozen fries that I seasoned with a little bit of Old Bay and salt right before I put them into the oven, and then cooked them as the package instructed. The perfect accompaniment! Plus, make some extra sauce to dip these bad boys into, YOU WILL THANK ME!!!