Recipes and menu ideas for shrimp burgers, shrimp broth, dill pickle potato salad, four-bean salad, creamed collard gratin, oven-fried parmesan green beans, pink-eyed peas, striped mullet, tilefish, and pork Milanese—plus adventures with plant-based burgers.
Local shrimp goodness
I only buy North Carolina shrimp—oh, here she goes on her soapbox again. Nothing against shrimp from the Gulf or elsewhere along the east coast, but I like to buy local when I can. If you can’t find local shrimp, opt for shrimp that’s been caught in American waters—not by slaves in Asian waters.
Do you know about Asian slave shrimping? If not, do some Googling so you can make informed decisions when purchasing shrimp in markets and restaurants, or when reaching for shrimp at an event. I rather pay more to support the American fishing industry. Think about it, shrimp used to be a luxury for special occasions. Now, thanks to slave labor, you can fill up on the cheap. Just say no to slave shrimp.
My local seafood shop had a sale on big brown shrimp with heads so I stocked up my freezer with several pounds. But first, I put aside a pound for a North Carolina coastal specialty: shrimp burgers.
We’ve passed a few places on the coast famous for shrimp burgers—like Big Oak in Salter Path and El’s in Morehead City—but never when we’re hungry. A few weekends ago, I decided to make my own shrimp burgers.
First, I tossed all the shrimp heads and shells into a pot to make shrimp broth for the freezer. I can’t resist making shrimp broth if I’m peeling fresh shrimp, especially if they have heads—more flavor! Just pinch those heads off before peeling the rest of the shrimp. You can find my shrimp broth recipe in this shrimp and grits post.
I found a recipe for a Holden Beach (NC) restaurant’s shrimp burgers. I used sweet onion instead of white, and added lemon zest. I did use the optional breadcrumbs because the mixture was pretty wet without them.
Wow, shrimp burgers, what a beautiful concept. I served them on a bun with lettuce and tartar sauce. I can’t wait to make them again, so darn good.
Alongside the shrimp burgers, we had dill pickle potato salad, a no-mayo recipe from Food52. I love mayo but Jim hates it. We both love pickles so this potato salad was a winner all around.
I realized I hadn’t made a four-bean salad yet this summer—and I love bean salads, they’re so refreshing. It’s an old love forgotten but reignited last summer when I visited my aunt and cousins in Rhode Island. My aunt served a bean salad that haunted (in a good way) my memories, so I made my first one last summer. I started with this three-bean salad recipe from Our State but made lots of changes:
- Added green beans, red bell pepper, celery and pickles.
- Subbed sweet for red onion.
- Omitted the corn.
- Cut the sugar in half.
- Used a tablespoon instead of a teaspoon of salt.
- Added cilantro.
This household loves greens. We have them at least once a week. I found a good recipe for creamed collards gratin on the Epicurious site. Of course I used country ham, not prosciutto, because…North Carolina. I like the idea of “creaming” with a béchamel, rather than with cream cheese or cream. I adapted the recipe by adding the diced vegetables from my deluxe creamed collards recipe. The gratin takes some prep but it’s delicious.
This recipe for oven-fried parmesan green beans takes less time. Very tasty, I’ll make it again.
In my continuing exploration of southern legumes, I made slowly simmered pink-eyed peas—and they were delicious.
Fish, Meat and “Meat”
I’ve been predictable lately with my fish, but these preparations are quick and easy, and the leftovers make good sandwiches the next day.
I soaked striped mullet fillets in buttermilk seasoned with garlic salt and Texas Pete. Then I dredged them in cornmeal and pan-fried them for a few minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels and squeeze some lemon over it all. Yum.
Another night I did something similar with tilefish. First, I dredged them in flour, then in mixture of egg and hot sauce, then in cornmeal mixed with a Mexican chile/lime seasoning called Tajin.
Another tried and true is pork Milanese. I always make extra so I have enough leftovers for sandwiches.
When I was in a Chicago restaurant recently I was intrigued by a burger on the menu. It was topped with jalapeno pimento cheese and served with kohlrabi fries on the side. But here’s the thing, this Impossible Burger was a plant-based burger. Now, you know I’m an omnivore but I wanted to give it a try. I figured the toppings would mask any off-flavors. But you know what? It was delicious. And, it didn’t leave me feeling weighed down like most burgers do.
I got brave again when I saw the Beyond Burgers—another plant-based burger—on sale at the supermarket. I had one yesterday for lunch and the other one this morning for breakfast—delicious. I still prefer venison burgers but I rather have one of these than crappy industrial beef burgers.
That’s all for now. I’m still behind on my “reporting,” but at least now I’ve caught up to mid-August.