Sharing the kill

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We once owned a cat who had expensive tastes. Midnight would not eat dry cat food, subsisting on the most finicky canned brands, and whatever people food he could score. When I fed him a few morsels, I developed the fantasy that we were “sharing the kill.” There were “Middy” and me, in a jungle somewhere, lounging around a picked-over carcass, fierce warriors bonding over our fresh prey.

Except the closest Middy ever got to the jungle was the back of the deli next door, where they fed him creamed herring.

In the sunset of his life, poor Middy developed cancer, and no amount of kitty-chemo could save him. When his jaw got so swollen and painful he could barely chew, we knew it was time. But the day before we took him to the vet, he was entitled to a last meal. I fed him tuna steak and he worked it down, then nuzzled next to me for his last sleep.

Today we own another black cat, named Bourbon, who also has refined tastes. He turns up his nose at chicken and fish, but loves seafood. Crabmeat and shrimp are his favorites. When I made these shrimp burgers (below), I just had to share the kill with “Bourby,” or else he would have rubbed a hole in my pants leg.

You’ll want to share these shrimp burgers with your human family, too. Be sure to serve it with the avocado spread recipe that follows, which really makes it sing.

Thanks to my friend, former Ann Arbor restaurateur, and published author Peggy Lampman (dinnerfeed.com) for sharing her recipe!

Note: start these about 2 1/2 hours before you are ready to cook them – just half hour (tops) to prepare and assemble, but they will need 2 hours to chill and solidify before grilling.

Burgers:

1 1/2 pounds raw, peeled and deveined shrimp

1 TBS minced garlic

1/2-1 tsp crushed, dried red chili pepper flakes

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh ginger

1 tsp kosher salt

1 large egg, beaten

1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs

1/4 cup chopped scallions

1/4 cup diced sweet red bell pepper

1/2 cup washed cilantro leaves

Neutral oil, like corn or canola, as needed

4 lightly toasted buns


Avocado Spread:

1 ripe avocado

1/2 TBS mayonnaise

1/2 chopped jalapeno (I substituted this for garlic in Peggy’s recipe)

1/2 tsp kosher salt

juice of 1/4 lime


1. Coarsely chop 1 pound of shrimp. In a processor, purée remaining half pound of shrimp.

2. Combine chopped and pureéd shrimp with garlic, red pepper flakes, ginger, salt, egg, Panko, scallions, bell pepper and cilantro.

3. Form into 4 patties and chill at least two hours.

4. Prepare a gas or charcoal fire to medium-high heat. (Note that you can also pan fry these burgers, if desired.)

5. Mash the avocado and mix in the other ingredients.

6. Brush grill and patties with oil and grill 4-5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.

7. Serve on buns with avocado spread and/or other condiments, aioli, ketchup, chili sauce, Sriracha, fresh limes, lettuce, tomato.

I’d also recommend eating these on a deck somewhere overlooking a lake, with a tossed salad, thick potato chips, and a chilled rosé.

Very tasty, and sure beats hunting your own dinner in some sweaty jungle.

———

Nick Roumel is a principal with Nacht & Roumel PC, a firm in Ann Arbor specializing in employment and civil right litigation. He also has many years of varied restaurant and catering experience, has taught Greek cooking classes, and wrote a food/restaurant column for “Current” magazine in Ann Arbor. Follow him at @nickroumel.
 

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