It finally feels like summer here in LA! The sun is shining, everyone’s donning their shorts and sandals, and along the coast the breeze is briny and beckoning. Summer screams LOBSTER ROLL for me. Nothing beats eating the taste of the sea right out of your hand.
My fiance Regina was born in Boston, as she is prone to reminding people with that brilliant smile of hers when the subject of lobster comes up. She has lobster in her blood, I suppose, although that sounds a little nasty, if you ask me. A few days ago I taught her the simple art of making a lobster roll, and in doing so we came to a consensus of how we like it. Sometimes you see lobster rolls offered in restaurants that bear little resemblance to the simple lunch I became familiar with on the East Coast, when I’d visit Boston or the single trip I made to New Hampshire. The one brief time I made it to Maine I sadly didn’t get my coveted roll.
But when I did get a chance to eat lobster out of my hand right on the edge of the Atlantic ocean, it was simple and delicious and perfect each time. The beauty of the lobster roll is, of course, as a showcase for the sweetness and tenderness of freshly cooked lobster, as recently caught as possible. So when you see versions with cucumber, or bits of tomato, or tarragon, or what-have-you, you can be sure that it isn’t authentic or true to the spirit of a real lobster roll. The lobster salad inside the roll should be simple. I like only a bit of celery and chives. And a little homemade mayo.
The other thing that makes for an authentic lobster roll is the split-top, “top-loading” New England style hot-dog bun. I suppose you could use a regular hot dog bun, but then you’d be guilty of the worst kind of West Coast phoniness. Sorry.
Search online for a source, or try this link: http://nehotdogrolls.webs.com/
Since I wrote this post, I’ve (very recently) discovered a great split-top hot dog roll made by King’s Hawaiian. It’s a fantastic substitute for the East Coast split-top roll. It’s a little denser and a bit sweeter than the real deal, but they crisp nicely on the sides. If you can find ’em, use ’em!
You’ll need:This recipe makes four lobsters rolls with a little leftover salad.
The meat from 2 lobsters (about 1.75 pounds apiece).
3 tablespoons homemade mayo (or the best store-bought you can find)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely minced celery
1 tablespoon finely minced chives
salt and pepper
softened salted butter
4 split-top hot dog buns
Chop up the lobster meat; you’ll end up with just over two cups. Mix the meat with mayo, lemon juice, celery, and chives. Taste for seasoning and add salt and cracked pepper as desired.
Heat a skillet over medium heat. Smear the sides of the hot dog buns with softened butter. Brown each side of the buns in the hot skillet. While the buns are still warm stuff them with lobster salad.
Hope you like ’em!
For instructions on lobster cooking check out my Lobsta Lessons post: http://www.spencerhgray.com/2011/03/lobsta-lessons.html. Try the McNair method; it’ll demystify the process for you.
I added new pics to this post 11 months after I wrote it. I think the new pics, while not perfect, are a huge improvement.