Jerk shrimp rolls

By Gail Simmons
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Some of my most memorable meals have been at roadside jerk shacks in and around Negril, Jamaica. At each shack, chicken (and often fish, lobster, and shrimp) is rubbed with an intoxicating blend of sweet and spicy seasoning and herbs that make up jerk; chilies, ginger, scallions, garlic, and allspice. Each shack makes its own version of the seasoning, and—having dutifully sampled many—I can honestly say that I haven’t yet met a jerk chicken or fish that I didn’t wholeheartedly love. The seasoning has inspired my own riffs on jerk, including this shrimp roll. Blending the style of a classic New England lobster roll with those spicy-sweet jerk flavors, it’s a wildly delicious mash-up and, since it’s quick to assemble and easy to double or triple, one that’s great for feeding a crowd.

SERVES
4

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil, plus more for grilling
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Kosher salt
  • 5 scallions, divided
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped peeled fresh ginger (from a 5 centimeter knob)
  • 1 large clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 Scotch bonnet pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 4 hot dog buns
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Directions

  1. Heat a grill or grill pan to high heat and brush it with oil. In a bowl, toss the shrimp with two teaspoons oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Grill until bright pink, opaque, and slightly charred, about three minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and set aside to cool, then coarsely chop.
  2. Clean the grill and brush with more oil if required. Season four of the scallions with salt and pepper; grill until softened and charred in spots, about two minutes per side. Allow to cool, then trim off the root and coarsely chop.
  3. In a food processor, combine the grilled scallions, allspice, ginger, garlic, thyme, Scotch bonnet, lime juice, and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Pulse to form a coarse paste, scraping down sides a few times between pulses to evenly incorporate. Transfer to a mixing bowl and stir in the mayonnaise. Fold in the shrimp.
  4. Split open the hot dog buns and brush the insides generously with the melted butter. Grill over high heat on the grill or in grill pan until just golden, about two minutes. Thinly slice the remaining scallion. Divide the shrimp mixture among the buns, sprinkle with the sliced scallion, and serve.

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