Sounds weird, tastes delicious. Really! If you like shrimp and want the texture of a hamburger without the red meat, these burgers are a tasty and more healthy alternative. And they are a vast improvement over our attempt to make veggie burgers, which was a one-bite-so-bad-throw-away-and-order-pizza moment. This burger recipe from Cook’s Illustrated’s “Light & Healthy 2012” magazine is also easy to make with simple ingredients: 1-2 slices white bread, 1 pound shrimp, 3 tablespoons light mayonnaise, 2 green onions, 2 tablespoons fresh minced parsley, 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest, 1/8 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, a pinch of cayenne pepper and 2 teaspoons canola or vegetable oil. Topped with creamy chipotle chile sauce and served on a toasted English muffin with lettuce and tomato, these shrimp burgers taste almost like a lighter version of a po’ boy, without the breading and frying, and satisfy a craving for protein in patty form.
The recipe doesn’t specify the size of shrimp to use. We had some medium-sized, EZ-Peel (already de-veined) shrimp in the freezer, so we thawed those for the burgers. The size probably doesn’t matter, since you will pulse the shrimp in the food processor to chop it into small pieces. Whatever shrimp you use, be sure to peel and de-vein them, and remove their tails.
Thinly slice the green onions (green and white parts), chop up the parsley and grate the lemon zest.
Whisk together the mayo, green onions, lemon zest, parsley, salt, pepper and cayenne in a large bowl.
The recipe calls for “1 slice hearty white sandwich bread.” We used about half of a mini baguette. Tear the bread into pieces and pulse in the food processor until you get coarse crumbs. You should end up with about 3/4 cup of crumbs. Add the breadcrumbs to the mayo mixture.
Wipe out any breadcrumb remnants from the food processor and pulse the shrimp until you have a mix of finely minced and coarsely chopped pieces of shrimp.
Add the shrimp to the bowl with the breadcrumbs and mayo mixture and use a spatula to gently fold the ingredients together until just combined.
Divide the shrimp mixture into 4 equal portions and loosely pack them into 1-inch-thick patties on a cookie sheet. Cover the sheet with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
The recipe suggests topping the burgers with “creamy chipotle chile sauce,” and we second that emotion.
To make the sauce, mix together 1/4 cup light mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons low-fat sour cream, 1 tablespoon lime juice, 2 teaspoons minced fresh cilantro, 1 minced garlic clove and 1/2 teaspoon minced canned chipotle chile in adobo (more if you like it spicy.) Add a little water if it seems too thick, and add salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate the sauce for about 30 minutes before serving.
Perhaps my attention span is also only about 30 minutes, or I am getting forgetful in my old(er) age, but I forgot to take a picture of the actual cooking of the shrimp burgers. To cook the burgers, heat the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Gently lay each burger in the skillet and cook until well-browned on both sides — about 10-12 minutes total. Resist the temptation to lift and peek at the browning side, at least for the first several minutes, or the burger may fall apart. Also, flip the burgers very carefully so they retain their shape.
We served the burgers on toasted English muffins with lettuce, a slice of tomato and a dollup of the chipotle chile sauce, with sweet potato fries on the side. In addition to tasting good and being healthy, these burgers make an ideal quick and easy dinner for hot summer months — no grilling required.