We’ve all heard of a lobster roll, but that is vastly different from the current sandwich I’m writing about because this is a shrimp roll. What we’re dealing with here are small, tender pieces of shrimp that have been tossed in a creamy and slightly spicy, tangy, and citrusy dressing. Then we plan to top these flavorful shrimp with a sweet, citrusy, and tart onion jam and stuff it inside a soft sandwich roll.
This shrimp roll is a simple sandwich composed of three cold or room temperature components that all could be prepared in advance, so if you have time earlier in the day or the day before, you could turn this into a super quick-to-prepare sandwich that doesn’t require much hands-on time at sandwich preparation.
Is a shrimp roll a real thing?
It is! My wife and I have been making this shrimp-based sandwich for a few years now, tweaking the recipe for the first few times until we got it fully dialed in and perfect. Let’s walk through the process.
First, as in a high percentage of sandwich preparations, we need some bread.
Italian-style sandwich roll
I have used different bread for these sandwiches but the best option has been my Italian sandwich roll recipe which is soft in the middle, and a bit crusty on the outside. This recipe does require an overnight rise, which helps add a lot of flavor to the final roll.
Note: you can skip the overnight rise—and I have—you just need to add all of the overnight rise ingredients right into the rest of the dough when you’re preparing it. The main loss of not using the overnight process will just mean your bread will be less flavorful. But I don’t want you to see that the recipe requires a day before preparation and let that discourage you from trying the recipe.
The recipe calls for bread flour which will give you some chew, which I think this sandwich needs. I have also made this bread roll with all-purpose flour and it’s similar but the density and “chew” of the bread will be a slight bit diminished if you use AP instead of bread flour. Bread flour typically has a higher protein count which leads to more gluten production in the dough. So if you want a chewier final bread, you should start with bread flour.
Rolling and shaping process
The rolling process here is pretty similar to other bread rolls that I have shared in the past. These are around 6 inches or so and they end up with a semi-crusty crust, just enough to hold up to most sandwiches, without being crunchy.
My process for rolling these is to flatten a dough ball. Then I fold it over on itself and roll from the folded end. In my experience, this definitely seems to help build a bit of structure to the rolls and it helps the roll to stay rounder instead of flattening out. This is a big deal in my roll-making experience and the many times I’ve made this recipe the ones with the folded and then rolled dough seem to keep their shape a bit more.
Once you have the dough into a log shape and you’ve sealed the seem, I like to roll it a bit and taper the ends for a more professional appearance.
I’ll be posting a reel of my Italian sandwich roll-shaping process later this week. Follow along on Instagram if you are interested!
Egg white wash
This recipe calls for an egg white wash. An egg white wash should help firm up the crust of the bread a little while still helping the crust to become a bit more shiny. In theory, an egg white wash doesn’t help the bread to become darker, which is good because the temperature and time that this bread bakes seems to darken it enough in my oven.
Give this recipe a try if you want a good sandwich roll with a bit of chew to stand up to sandwich toppings.
Red wine onion jam
This red wine onion jam can be a great addition to a lot of sandwiches that could use some acid and sweetness. The onions are softened but still have a noticeable texture that works well alongside the shrimp in this sandwich.
Got a boring sandwich with just lunch meat and cheese? This onion jam will take it to the next level. I have yet to try this jam with peanut butter but it is great on a burger and would be fantastic on a steak taco if you have one laying around.
Keep this red wine onion jam idea in the back of your mind and try to remember it when you might need a tangy and sweet component in your upcoming sandwich.
salad and dressing
Here’s where we get into the business.
My friend Shana and I have been in solidarity with our disdain for “XX salads” for a long time. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not actually talking about the salads that you can create at a salad bar, I’m talking about chicken salad, ham salad, and the scariest of all, egg salad.
I feel like I must have been scarred in my youth with potluck events, where people bring food to share for everyone to eat, and that caused mayonnaise-focused salads to become sketchy for me. I also am not a fan of hard-boiled eggs which seem to sneak into many of these “XX Salads” when you least or most expect. It’s just chaos!
I’ve been doing my best since I started this blog to be more open to these sorts of salads since they show up in a lot of sandwiches and I even made and thoroughly enjoyed a curry chicken salad sandwich last year that wasn’t mayonnaise focused, instead, it was cream cheese based and I really loved it!
But the important thing to remind ourselves is that this isn’t a shrimp salad sandwich, it’s simply a shrimp roll! Say it with me, this is just a shrimp roll!
Best of all, it’s really good.
There’s mayonnaise in the dressing, but the flavors are heavy on the white wine vinegar, lemon, and mustard. There are all sorts of fresh green flavorful stuff in the dressing as well, like capers, dill, and diced jalapenos. Altogether this just works for me and it doesn’t make me even imagine the phrase “shrimp salad” at all! Don’t say it out loud.
Not sure what caused my wife to start making this sandwich 3 or 4 years ago or what caused me to think that I’d be ok with it, knowing my history with XX salads, but from the very first taste, enjoyed it. There’s a great combination of spice and tartness from the lemon juice and vinegar along with good texture from the shrimp and onions that just makes it a great sandwich.
The shrimp roll and red wine onion jam recipe
I’ve taken a heck load of photos of this sandwich. As I’ve said before, my wife has been making it for 3 or 4 years at this point, refining the recipe along the way, and has come up with a really solid recipe to share. Let’s see if I can caption all of the sandwich photos below or if I give up along the way.
Here’s the whole sandwich recipe including the red wine onion jam. It’s a great one and you should bookmark it if you like good things. Keep scrolling past the recipe if you want to see more sandwich photos and have an idea of what sandwich is coming next.
Here's a great seafood roll option with creamy and tangy dressing topped with tart and sweet onions. This sandwich is served cold, so you can make all the components up to a day in advance to make the process much easier.
Ingredients:Red wine onion jam
- 2 red onions, thinly sliced
- 1⁄2 cup red wine vinegar
- 1⁄2 cup dry red wine
- 1⁄2 cup sugar
- 1⁄2 lemon, juiced
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 pounds shrimp, roasted and coarsely chopped
- 1 to 2 ounces lemon juice (juice of 1 lemon)
- 3⁄4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1⁄2 teaspoon sugar
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon parsley, minced
- 1 teaspoon capers, minced
- 1 teaspoon dill, minced
- 1 jalapeno, finely chopped
- 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
- 2 scallions, thinly chopped (whites and greens)
- 1 6-inch bread roll
- 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 cup shrimp and dressing
- 2 to 3 tablespoons red wine onion jam
Red wine onion jam: add a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add sliced red onions, red wine vinegar, red wine, sugar, salt, and black pepper.
Once everything is combined and simmering, reduce heat to low and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half. This will take approximately 30 minutes. The goal is for the onions to be soft and the liquid to become syrupy and thickened.
After the onion jam has thickened, stir in lemon juice and season with more salt and pepper, if needed.
Allow to cool fully and store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Shrimp and dressing: preheat oven to 400 degrees F (204 C).
Toss peeled and deveined shrimp with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place shrimp on 2 large sheet pans and bake for 7 to 8 minutes.
After they are fully cooked, remove the shrimp from the sheet pan and let them fully cool.
Using a large bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, mayonnaise, white wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, sugar, salt, and pepper. Add parsley, capers, dill, celery, scallions, and chopped shrimp. Stir until everything is fully combined.
Sandwich assembly: split your sandwich roll if it's not already. You can slice it all the way through or split it 2/3rds of the way and open it like a book.
Add some shrimp tossed in dressing into the bread roll. Top the shrimp with red wine onion jam.
Serve and enjoy.
Check back next week, mate!
Good onya for reading all the way down here. Next week, we’ll be making Crocodile Dundee’s favorite sandwich*. If only he had lived until the present day**!
**whoa. He’s still alive? No one told me. Ok, we’re still doing it.