Everything good comes in small packages, right??
All good things.
But why does food seem to taste infinitely better when it’s presented in a tiny little package? Maybe it’s because we first eat with our eyes then our mouths. Or perhaps it’s because in just one all-encompassing bite you get to taste all the flavors, instead of taking multiple bites before getting a feel of what the entire dish tastes like. (Although I pride myself on getting the perfect bite every time, no matter the size of the dish.) Or maybe it’s just all in my head.
Either way, in my opinion, these shrimp rolls are no exception. There’s something innately adorable about these guys that will leave you ooing an ahhing before you even take a bite. But in that initial bite, you can close your eyes and taste every single component of the roll – the shrimp, the buttered bread, the fresh herbs – all singing harmoniously together.
I came up with these for a baby shower I helped throw for my best friend Angie this past weekend. I wanted to do cutesy, but not kitschy; upscale, but please the masses, and I think I hit the nail right on the head with these cuties. While they may appear to be quite a bit of work, they’re actually ridiculously easy to put together.
Frozen shrimp are thawed, and slowly poached in a bath of white wine and lemon juice until they’re cooked through and opaque. I ran them under cold water to stop the cooking process and to expedite the cooling process, and then chopped them up into tiny bite-sized pieces.
I wanted to mimic the flavors of a lobster roll, where less is more, and to let the shrimp itself shine through instead of drowning it in copious amounts of mayo that would ultimately hide the shrimp-y flavor. I did that by adding juuust a touch of mayo – basically only enough to very lightly coat the shrimp – a splash of white vinegar, lemon juice, dill, salt and pepper. I also threw in a handful of chopped celery for texture and crunch.
The filling is nestled into adorable buttered and toasted mini challah rolls I found at whole foods; brioche would also work nicely, but if you can’t find either, a mini egg roll will work as well.
While I’m partial to the bite-sized version here, if you’re not feeding a crowd, these would taste just as lovely full-sized – just make sure you get the perfect bite every time.
- 1½ pounds shrimp, defrosted, peeled and deveined
- 1 cup white wine
- 2 lemons
- ¼ cup light mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon chopped dill
- ¼ cup finely diced celery
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoon butter, melted
- 12 mini challah or brioche rolls
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut a V shape on each of the challah rolls big enough to fit in the shrimp filling. Brush the inside with butter and transfer to a baking sheet. Bake until just slightly golden brown and toasted. Let cool.
- In a medium saucepan, heat the white wine, juice of 1½ lemons and salt to a simmer. Add shrimp, and cook until bright pink and opaque. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process. Chop into small bite-sized pieces.
- In a medium bowl, combine remaining juice of lemon, mayo, dill, celery, white vinegar and salt. Gently toss with shrimp. Season with salt and pepper.
- Nestle into challah crevices.