Long, many years ago there once was a shack at the far end of Tybee Beach that served Shrimp Burgers. Two gals ran the place – One hidden in the back, whacking and chopping fresh Thunderbolt shrimp into mincemeat; while the other fried them up and slung the finished burgers out to a long line of adoring, albeit overly brown and oily, fans. It wasn’t fancy. It was primarily just whack-a-chopped shrimp, coleslaw, and a bun. But, you know, they were probably one of the best things I’ve eaten on a beach.
Granted, a patty of pure, fresh, chopped shrimp is going to be a little chewy, and it was… a little. But I swear – I still dream about them.
Herbaceous Shrimp Burgers
Makes 6 Burgers
1/2 Cup Fresh Bread Crumbs – About 2 slices of bread.
I’m not going to say “use the best bread you can find” Because in reality… it’s a binder. However, make sure it’s something you like eating and is fairly non-desript in flavor. (ie. don’t use sourdough, or spelt, or rye, you’re going to taste it in the burger.)
1 Ten Ounce Pack of Frozen RAW Peeled / Deveined Shrimp – Thawed and Drained.
Now, I could tell you to only use fresh, shell on / never frozen shrimp and do all the heavy lifting yourself to clean them down. But to be perfectly honest, you’re making burgers out of them. $12/ a pound shrimp are nice when you’re grilling them up and need them to look purty on the plate. But unless you feel the need to tell everyone how hard you worked to make burgers, it’s a unnecessasy step.
1 Whiting Fillets -or- 4 Ounces of some other white fish. Feel free to use Cod, Swai, Catfish or Flounder. A 10 ounce Pack of peeled shrimp is approximately the same thing as a 1 pound package of uncleaned / shell-on shrimp, and you’ll need to bolster the amount to make enough patties. White fish gives the patties some tenderness while adding in some of that ocean flavor that an all-shrimp burger will be missing. (As a note: Don’t use tilapia.. no one should be eating that crap.)
1/4 Cup Heavy Body Mayonnaise
3 Scallions – Minced – divided
3 Tablespoons Parsley – Minced – divided
2 Springs Thyme – Stripped – divided
3 Leaves Fresh Basil (About 1 Tablespoon of chopped) – divided
1/4 Teaspoon Lime Zest – divided
Oh, About 1/8 Teaspoon Salt
And, About the Same Amount of Pepper (use your own good judgement)
If you want a little ZING, A Good Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes
2 Tablespoons Oil
Tools of the Trade:
Cutting Board and Sharp Knife
Large Mixing Bowl
Non Stick Skillet
Herbed Mayonnaise (see Below)
Shredded Iceberg Lettuce
Heirloom Tomato Slices, or Grilled Pineapple Slices
In the processor, Add the thawed and drained shrimp and the fish – pulse until it is a coarse paste.
In a mixing bowl, Add the mayo, breadcrumbs, 1/2 of all the herbs and lime zest, salt and pepper. Mix well.
Add the shrimp mixture to the bowl and fold everything together to mix well. Using a 1/2 Cup measure or scoop, spoon up 6 balls of the mixture and place evenly spaced on a film covered baking sheet. Flatten each lump to form loose patties about 1/2″ to 3/4″ thick.
Cover with another sheet of plastic film and refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour
Heat the skillet and oil over medium heat and cook the patties (3 at a time) for 4 minutes on each side.
Serve on Toasted kaiser rolls, with shredded iceberg lettuce, our herbaceous mayonnaise, and heirloom tomatoes or some grilled pineapple rings
Plate Fodder Herbaceous Mayonnaise
Makes about 1/2 Cup
The retained herbs and zest from the burgers
1/4 Teaspoon Red Chili Flakes
1/2 Cup Heavy Body Mayo
1 Teaspoon Fish Sauce
Pinch Garlic Powder
Mix everything together and chill well for at least an hour before serving