This is adapted from a recipe by my friend Rachel Eisler. Take shrimp and steam them fragrant in cloves and bay leaf and fold them into a seaside sandwich. It tastes of salt air and summer sunshine. The excursion requires no fins or oxygen tank; it's just a deep dive into delicious.
- 1 1/2 Pound medium shrimp in their shells
- 2 Tablespoons pickling spice
- 3/4 Cups mayonnaise
- 1/4 Cup thinly sliced basil leaves
- 2 Tablespoons finely chopped scallions
- Finely grated zest of half a lemon
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 8 long potato rolls (split-top or standard hot-dog style)
Step 1: Using kitchen scissors, cut shrimp shells along the curve of the back and, working under cool running water, rinse away the dark "vein" (digestive track). Now shrimp are clean, but still secure in their protective shells.
Step 2: Find your steamer pot or improvise with a large lidded pot and a colander that fits inside. Fill pot with cold water to a depth of 1 inch. Check that the basket clears the water. (The goal is to steam, not boil, the shrimp.) Remove steamer basket or colander.
Step 3: Stir 2 tablespoons pickling spice into the water. Bring to a boil. Place shrimp in basket; carefully lower basket into pot. Cover, reduce heat a bit and let shrimp steam until pink and curled, about 3 minutes. Pull out basket. Tumble shrimp into a shallow bowl and chill — still in their shells — until cool, about 45 minutes.
Step 4: Pull off shells, and cut shrimp into bite-size chunks.
Step 5: In a large bowl, stir together 3/4 cup mayo, 1/4 cup thinly sliced basil, 2 tablespoons finely chopped scallions and zest of 1 lemon. Slide in shrimp; mix gently with a soft spatula. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Cover and chill at least 1 hour.
Step 6: If you like, warm buns in a 250-degree oven for 5 minutes. Open buns, fill with shrimp salad. Close and munch.