Shrimp Burger

I’ve been trying to lighten things up at our house a bit lately. We ate a lot of comfort food-type meals this winter, and my pants definitely aren’t fitting as well as I’d like :) Shane has the world’s fastest metabolism, so he can pretty much eat whatever he wants without gaining an ounce, but I don’t have that same good fortune. I’m not interested in cooking two separate meals for dinner, though, so I’m working to find healthier recipes we both enjoy.

These shrimp burgers definitely fall into that category. They’re sort of reminiscent of crab cakes, but I think the shrimp flavor is stronger in these than the crab usually is in crab cakes. It probably goes without saying, but if you don’t like shrimp, these burgers aren’t for you. There isn’t a ton of filler, so the shrimp shines. I’ve had issues in the past with crab cakes that were fragile and fell apart while cooking, but these held their shape perfectly. They develop a crispy, golden crust in the pan too, which made them feel decadent. The leftovers even reheated fairly well for lunch the next day – total bonus!

Shrimp Burger

I was tempted to serve these without rolls in an effort to really keep this meal light, but neither Shane nor I was excited about the prospect. In our house, a burger needs a roll! So, instead, I adapted my very favorite homemade burger roll to incorporate some whole grains. I substituted whole wheat flour for half of the all-purpose and they were just as delicious as usual. If I’m going to bake with whole grains, I always use white whole wheat flour – I much prefer its milder flavor over traditional whole wheat. I know it doesn’t sound as healthy, but it has ALL the same nutritional benefits (you can read more here) of traditional whole wheat without that bitter taste I often notice. It’s totally made me a whole wheat convert! :)

Shrimp Burgers
from America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook

1 slice high quality whole wheat sandwich bread, torn into 1-inch pieces
1 lb extra large shrimp (raw, not precooked, I used the 26-30/lb size), peeled and deveined
3 tablespoons mayonnaise (the original recipe called for light mayo, so you can use that if you have it)
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
pinch cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons canola oil

Add the bread to the bowl of your food processor and pulse until you have coarse crumbs. Transfer to a measuring cup – you should have about 3/4 cup of crumbs. Wipe the bowl of the food processor out, then add the shrimp. Carefully pulse just until you have a mixture of finely minced and coarsely chopped pieces, about 7 pulses. Add the breadcrumbs and shrimp to a large bowl but do not mix yet.

In a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, scallions, parsley, lemon zest, salt, pepper and cayenne together until well combined. Pour this mixture over the shrimp and breadcrumbs, and use a rubber spatula to gently fold everything together.

Transfer the shrimp mixture onto a small baking sheet. Divide the mixture into 4 portions, and loosely pack each into a 1-inch thick burger. You want to be gentle here – don’t try to pick up the mixture and shape it the way you might with a traditional burger. Cover the burgers with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (or up to 24 hours).

Set a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. When it shimmers, carefully transfer the burgers to the pan. Cook until golden brown and crisp on both sides, about 8-10 minutes total. Serve on toasted buns with your favorite toppings.

Makes 4 burgers