Another Wednesday, another sandwich! As I’ve said before, the Grill-Meister continues to kill it on Sandwich Wednesday; last week it was a righteous Shrimp and Avocado BLT on an everything bagel, AKA, let’s use what we have on hand instead of making a trip to the store. No bread, no problem! We’ve got bagels!
The panini BLT with avocado and shrimp is one of my favorites of The Grill-Meister’s regular Sandwich Wednesday rotation, but we’ve never had it on a bagel before. The bagel was necessitated because we didn’t have any “normal” panini bread, and what a find! It was the perfect savory delivery device for the complementary flavors of the grilled shrimp, crisp bacon, creamy avocado and summer-fresh tomato and butter lettuce.
I’ve told you before that we have several panini-based cookbooks, and love ’em all. We also do variations. (I say “we,” but I really mean The Grill-Meister – I think you are probably all aware of that.) The inspiration for this particular sandwich comes from the 200 Best Panini Recipes cookbook by Tiffany Collins.
The Grill-Meister has made many of the sandwiches from this cookbook, and tried many variations of many sandwiches, and we’ve agreed on the best permutation of this particular one, the Shrimp Club Panini, for our tastes. I keep the tally going right there in the cookbook.
You can see our annotations over the years…
- add red onion!
- skinnier bread (although the bagel was NOT that)
- add seasoning! (to the shrimp)
- substitute or add spicy crawfish (that was a darn good one)
- doesn’t need cheese!
- use guac in place of mayo
Once a recipe evolves this much from the original and becomes its own wonderful, unique thing, it’s time to document. Here we go!
Shrimp and Avocado BLT
- Your preferred bread choice: 2 everything bagels, 4 slices of sourdough, two ciabatta rolls, etc. (don’t choose a super-soft bread, though)
- 1 tbsp olive oil, or an olive oil sprayer (preferred, click here for info)
- 1 medium avocado, sliced
- 1/2 lb. of seasoned and cooked shrimp (see below), halved longways if they are large, 1/2 lb. of seasoned, cooked crawfish tails, or a mix
- 1/4 medium red onion, thinly sliced
- 6 slices cooked bacon (we usually use pepper bacon)
- 1 ripe tomato, thinly sliced
- Several leaves of your favorite panini lettuce (we like butter lettuce or arugula)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
Collect all of the ingredients on a large cutting board. Heat your panini maker to medium.
Brush the outside of the bagels, bread or rolls with olive oil, or spray with your olive oil sprayer, and turn them over to be ready to for the goodies.
Cover the bottom piece of bread with avocado, then sprinkle salt and freshly ground pepper over it. Add shrimp, then onion, then bacon. Put more avocado on the top piece of bread and use a knife to ‘mush’ it in, then place it atop the sandwich and press down.
Place the sandwiches in the panini press and cook, low and slow, until the bread is nicely browned. Remove from the panini press, take off the top slices of bread, and add tomato and lettuce, then replace the top and serve while it’s hot.
As noted above, lots of different breads are great for this sandwich. The latest version, our lunch on New Year’s Eve at Gumbo Cove in Mississippi, was on Spinach and Asiago Cheese Sourdough we bought at the Hancock County Farmers Market from Pablo & Missy’s Bakery. It was GREAT! And for that sandwich, The Grill-Meister didn’t do the panini approach, deciding instead to just lightly toast the lovely artisanal slices.
About the Shrimp
You can use already-cooked shrimp for this recipe, from several sources:
- The leftover grilled shrimp you made over the weekend 😊
- Cooked shrimp you buy from the supermarket, which you would want to sprinkle with a teaspoon of cajun or southwest seasoning (we use our Zippy Southwest or Zippy Cajun)
- Canned shrimp, the least desirable option (but still beating a poke in the eye with a sharp stick!), which you would drain and then treat with oil and seasoning like the cooked shrimp above
Or you can grill or sauté fresh or frozen shrimp just for this recipe. That’s what we do. We keep a big bag of frozen shrimp in the freezer, so that we have throwdown shrimp any time there’s a shrimp emergency (like making a panini on a Wednesday without making a special trip to the store in COVID times). We prefer fresh shrimp right off the boat, but hey, that’s not always an option.
Grilled or Sauteed Shrimp
- 1/2 lb. fresh or thawed shrimp
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1-2 tsp cajun or southwest seasoning (we use our Zippy Southwest or Zippy Cajun)
Saute the shrimp over medium heat for 3-4 minutes until they are pink, or grill for about the same time, turning once. Remove from heat and cool slightly if you are planning to cut them in half lengthwise.
Below is a previous version of this panini, but on sourdough, and without the lettuce. The current model is an improvement in both looks and taste, don’t you think?
© 2020, Glover Gardens
Update © 2023, Glover Gardens