These burgers transform what is good and glorious about shrimp—the plump, snapping texture, the mildly sweet flavor—into an irresistible meal. The crisp breaded shrimp patty is the perfect foil to an array of tangy, crunchy accompaniments. Considering the inherent saltiness and umami quality of shrimp, the patties need very little besides some garlic powder and white pepper to make them shine.
Truly fresh, wild-caught shrimp works best in this recipe, but unless you know someone with a shrimping boat, go for the bag of wild-caught frozen shrimp—their freshness is a little more reliable. Any standard variety will work well here (meaning you probably don’t want to use pricey spot prawns or Royal Reds).
A note on sustainability: While shrimp stocks themselves are not in immediate danger of overfishing, industrial trawling results in devastating amounts of bycatch. To ensure you’re buying responsibly harvested shrimp, look for certifications from organizations like the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC). Or check the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch. Typically, sustainable shrimp is sold shell-on, as regulations for processed shrimp are far less stringent.
- Take three-quarters of the shrimp and mince until you get a smooth and sticky paste (you can do this in a food processor or by hand). Roughly chop the remaining quarter pound of shrimp into ½-inch pieces.
- In a bowl, combine the shrimp paste with the chopped shrimp, minced onion, egg white, 1 tsp cornstarch, and seasonings. Mix until well combined.
- Take the shrimp mixture in one hand and slap it against the bowl a few times, until the paste holds a round shape. This will help firm up the shrimp and give it a bouncy texture.
- Take a fist-size amount and flatten it into a patty. Place formed patties onto a plate or small baking sheet and rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
- Prep the burger accoutrements: Combine all sauce ingredients and keep in the fridge. Toast the brioche buns and set aside. Finely shred some iceberg lettuce.
- Set up your panko breading stations: Tip 3 Tbsp cornstarch into a shallow bowl, whisk egg with a splash of water in another shallow bowl, and dump panko into a third shallow bowl.
- Take patties out of the fridge and proceed to coat them in panko.
- Add enough oil to a cast iron pan to generously coat the bottom. Heat until oil starts to smoke. Gently slide two patties into the oil and let panfry for 3 to 4 minutes, until you see a golden-brown crust forming on the bottom. Use two spatulas to carefully lift and flip each patty. Patties should be done after an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Set finished patties on a paper towel–lined rack set over a baking sheet.
- To assemble: Place one patty on the toasted bun, top with some lettuce (and other toppings, if desired), and paint the top bun with a generous amount of gochujang mayonnaise. You’re done!
Mahira Rivers is a freelance restaurant critic and food writer in New York. She was previously an anonymous inspector for the Michelin Guides in North America. More recently, she has contributed to The New York Times’ Hungry City column, reviewing New York City’s great unsung restaurants.