Spicy Summer Shrimp Burgers with Crisp Pancetta

Accolades 2002 Finalists
Serves 6
Pairs well with:

White Merlot

Imagine sipping a lighter Merlot. This fresh, pale-pink wine is a nice change from traditional red or white wines.


1/2 cup mayonnaise (homemade or Hellman’s/Best Foods)
2 tablespoons prepared chili sauce
Kosher or coarse sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons kosher or coarse sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
1 1/2 cups fresh corn (when cutting corn from cob, be sure to scrape cob with the back of knife
after cutting off kernels to extract the “corn milk”)
2 pounds raw shrimp (any size), peeled, deveined, and coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons minced sun-dried tomatoes (blotted if packed in oil; or re-hydrated, drained and
blotted if dry-packed)
1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon

6 thinly sliced rounds of pancetta (bacon can be substituted)
Grapeseed or other flavorless oil for brushing
6 challa or egg bread rolls, split
Unsalted butter, softened, for spreading
Butter lettuce, washed and dried
6 1/8-inch-thick beefsteak or other large tomato slices, sprinkled with salt and pepper to taste
12 thin avocado slices (peel and slice at last minute to prevent from turning brown), sprinkled
with salt and pepper to taste


To prepare the mayonnaise, mix all of the ingredients, including salt and pepper to taste, in a small bowl. Blend well, cover, and chill.

To make the patties, combine the salt, pepper, horseradish, and 3/4 cup of the corn in a food processor and process until fairly smooth. Add one-third of the shrimp and blend until smooth. Remove mixture to a large bowl (chilled, preferably). Fold in the remaining 3/4 cup corn, the remaining chopped shrimp, sun-dried tomatoes, and tarragon.

Shape into 6 patties (3/4- to 1-inch thick). Chill 30 minutes to 3 hours. (Take out of the refrigerator 15 minutes before grilling.)

When ready to grill, heat grill to medium-high heat. Place cast-iron skillet on the grill and cook pancetta until golden brown and crisp; drain on paper towels. Generously brush both sides of patties with oil and brush grill with oil. Cook the patties, turning once, until cooked through (they are very delicate, so turn carefully), 5 to 6 minutes per side.

Spread the cut sides of the rolls with butter and place, cut sides down, on the grill to toast lightly.

Spread the mayonnaise on the cut sides of the rolls. Layer the lettuce, tomato, avocado, patties, and pancetta on the roll bottoms. Top with the roll tops and serve.