Serve a New Englander a lobster roll and it’s sure to conjure up memories of summers at the shore. These sandwiches are stuffed with lobster and more lobster, without a lot of filler, so wait until summertime, when lobsters are plentiful and reasonably priced, before making these deliciously rich rolls.
- Salt, to taste
- 2 live lobsters (1 1/2 to 2 lb. each)
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp. minced fresh tarragon (optional)
- 1 tsp. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley (optional)
- 1 celery stalk, finely minced
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 4 hot dog buns, preferably New England–style split-top buns
- 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
Fill a very large pot with lightly salted water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the lobsters and cover the pot. Return to a boil, then remove the lid. Boil until the lobsters are bright red, about 6 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold running water.
Place 1 cooked lobster, back side up, on a cutting board. Slip the tip of a large chef’s knife into the lobster at the point where the head meets the body. Holding the lobster securely, cut the head in half lengthwise. Repeat at the other end of the lobster, cutting the body and tail in half lengthwise. Twist the legs and claws from the body. Discard any visceral matter from the body, then remove the meat from the body and tail shells. Using a lobster cracker or nutcracker, crack the claws and any large legs, and remove the meat from the shells. Repeat with the second lobster. Cut the lobster meat into chunks.
In a bowl, combine the lobster meat, mayonnaise, lemon juice, tarragon, parsley and celery and mix gently. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours.
Heat a griddle or large, heavy fry pan over medium-high heat. Spread the outside top and bottom of the buns with the butter. Place the buns in the pan and cook, turning once, until golden brown on both sides, about 1 minute per side.
Fill each bun with an equal amount of the lobster mixture. Serve immediately. Serves 4.
Variation: Top the rolls with 1 cup shredded iceberg lettuce. To keep it simple, omit the mayonnaise, lemon and herbs and serve the buns loaded with the lobster meat only and drizzled with plenty of melted butter. Or, change the seafood: use 3/4 lb. fresh-cooked lump crabmeat or cooked, peeled and deveined shrimp, coarsely chopped, for the lobster meat.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Comfort Food, by Rick Rodgers (Oxmoor House, 2009)