When the weather turns warm, my thoughts turn to lobster…more specifically, they turn to Maine lobster and the quintessential lobster recipe – The lobster roll. There are great seafood recipes and then there are GREAT seafood recipes and the lobster roll is at the top of my list of GREAT seafood recipes. So don’t let that hard shelled bug scare you. Lobsters are easy to cook and even easier to eat (once you get past that armor like shell of theirs). So break out the claw crackers and a bib because once you learn how easy it is to make a lobster roll you’ll be making a lot of them.
Exhibit A – The Maine lobster. Yes, the making of a lobster sandwich starts with you having to off the lobster. I suppose this task is made easier for most people by the fact that a lobster isn’t the cute and cuddly looking animal with an easily discernible face like a chicken, pig or cow. Although some would say that those faces aren’t cute. But I’m not here to discuss or argue that point. What I’m trying to say is that a delicious lobster roll is made with fresh lobster meat and not the frozen variety.
Of course, having just talked about offing the lobster I would be leaving out the best part of the story. You see, if/when I make a lobster recipe in this house…all of the lobster cooking must be completed while Craig is not present in the house. In fact, it goes beyond that even. The lobster must be cooked and completely broken down into only the meat part by the time Craig sees any of it. The day I made this, he came home to find the lobster (already cooked) sitting in a strainer in the sink. I thought he was going to wet his pants when he screamed. (Guess who kills the spiders in this house?) Of course, earlier in the day he had walked into the kitchen and seen me boiling an octopus so he had about had his fill of seeing strange sea creatures meet their demise in the kitchen that day. He did accuse me of almost causing him to go vegan that day.
Growing up in the Mid-West, we had lobster more often than my friends did (which I’m pretty sure was never for them). We had friends that lived in the Boston area so we would visit them and travel up the coast to Maine frequently. My parents fell in love with lobster and so did I. As much as I like the stuff though, the only restaurant prepared lobster I like is the lobster roll. Outside of that, I prefer my lobster steamed in my own kitchen over broiled in some fancy schmancy restaurant. Plus, you don’t have to be graceful when you eat it at home (it’s not easy being graceful while eating lobster – a lot of the time it looks like Julia Roberts in the escargot scene of Pretty Woman).
But like all great seafood recipes, simple is usually the best way to showcase those gems from the sea and the lobster roll is no exception. The perfect lobster roll has the right sweetness, a little bit of something to kind of hold it together (but not be sticky or gloppy), a touch of seasoning and a great bun. That’s it, no more, don’t over complicate it. A great lobster sandwich has all of those elements but lets the briny sweet flavor of the lobster shine through. This ain’t tuna fish…this is LOBSTER.
So this summer fire up your stock pots, toast your buns (both kinds of buns) and sink your teeth into one of the East Coast’s favorite treats: the lobster roll!
All is not as it appears to be.
Recipe: Fresh Maine Lobster Roll
Summary: Makes 4 Sandwiches
- 1 1/2 Pound Lobster (steamed and cleaned)
- 1 Tablespoon Salt
- 3 Tablespoons Modern Green Goddess Dressing
- Top Split Buns
- Potato Chips
- Mixed Baby Green Lettuce
- To steam the lobster fill a stock pot with one inch of water and add in the tablespoon of salt.
- Cover the pot and bring water to a boil.
- Once boiling, add the lobster to the pot (it’s easier if you put it in head first) and cover.
- Steam for 15 minutes (add 2-3 minutes for every 1/4 pound over 1 1/2 pounds).
- Remove the lobster from the pot to cool.
- Once cooled, begin to remove the meat from the lobster. To get the tail meat out in one piece, twist the base of the tail from the body. Use a large knife and carefully cut through the protective layer on the underside of the tail. Once cut through, grab the tail on either side and pull the two sides in the opposite direction that they curve (from the sides, pull each side toward the other). This should release the tail meat in one large piece.
- The claw and knuckle meat can be removed by using a nut cracker to crack the shell and carefully pull and pick the meat out.
- Once the meat is removed, roughly chop it into chunks and toss into a bowl.
- Mix the dressing with the lobster meat and then place in the fridge to chill.
- Spread butter on the insides of the top split buns (Peppridge Farm makes a nice one). Heat a saute pan over high heat and place the buns, butter side down on the pan, and cook until well browned (you could also do this on the grill).
- Add a few pieces of lettuce to one side of the bun, then spoon the lobster meat into the bun.
- Add a layer of potato chips to the sandwich on the same side as the lettuce.
- Continue doing this with the rest of the lobster meat.
The buns you see in my photos are not the buns I mentioned in the recipe. These were some buns that I made from a Challah bread recipe.
If you can’t find the top split buns, you could also you regular hot dog buns. But the ingredients may spill out more.
Preparation time: 30 minute(s)
Cooking time: 20 minute(s)
Diet type: Pescatarian
Number of servings (yield): 2
Culinary tradition: USA (Traditional)