A classic Maine lobster roll contains fresh lobster meat mixed with mayonnaise and, sometimes, finely chopped celery. That’s it. The lobster is then stuffed into a buttered and grilled hot dog roll. You can do a lobster roll the old-time Mainer way, but I happen to like my lobster roll recipe better, combining freshly cooked lobster with just a touch of mayonnaise spiked with lemon juice, lemon zest, chives, and scallions. And I like serving the lobster roll on buttered, toasted baguette because I love the crunch and texture of French bread with the tender lobster meat. But a buttered hot dog roll isn’t bad, either.
When making this lobster roll recipe, how do you tell the difference between a male and a female lobster? Look between its legs, of course. You’ll find two feelers, or swimmerets, located at the base of the tail. If they’re hard, it’s a male; if they’re soft and flexible, you’ve got yourself a lady. Some think females are sweeter; others swear by the males.–Kathy Gunst
LC That’s What She Said Note
This is exactly what you’ll find along the little highways and byways of coastal Maine–a toasted split-top bun cradling cool, creamy mayo swaddling sweet, sweet lobster. Sigh. Much as we love this unctuous lobster roll with its cool, creamy mayo swaddling chunks of sweet, sweet lobstah, we feel compelled to point out that there is actually more than one way to make a lobster roll, and that other lobster roll way draws on nothing but melted buttah. So even though the lovely Kathy Gunst asserts above that the classic Maine lobster roll relies on mayo…well, not to be argumentative or anything, but let’s just consider that each story has another side. And then after you’re done pondering that, go make this salad.
Lobster Roll Recipe
Hands-On Time: 25 minutes | Total Time: 35 minutes | Serves 2
- Two 1-pound lobsters or 1 cup cooked lobster meat
- 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
- 1 tablespoon very finely chopped scallion
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- Two 3-inch chunks baguette (you can substitute 2 hot dog rolls if you must)
- 1. First, start dreaming of your lobster roll even as you add enough water to a large pot to measure 2 to 3 inches. Bring it to a rolling boil over high heat. Place a colander or a wire cooling rack over a rimmed baking dish.
- 2. Remove the rubber bands from the lobster claws before you cook them or you’ll have rubbery-tasting chunks of crustacean in your lobster roll. (Be careful once you remove the rubber bands because the lobster is very much alive and may snap at your fingers.) Add the lobsters to the boiling water, shell side down, cover, and cook for about 11 minutes, until a leg pulls out of the lobster body easily. (If you’re one of those folks with weathered digits that are impervious to heat, simply hold the lobster with tongs in one hand and yank on the leg with your other hand. Otherwise tug on the leg with a second set of tongs.)
- 3. Using tongs, remove the lobster from the boiling water and transfer to the colander or the rack to drain and cool to room temperature.
- 4. When the lobster is cool enough to handle, separate the lobster tail from the body. Using a fork, remove the tail meat. Using a cracker, the flat side of a chef’s knife, or the bottom of a heavy skillet, crack the claws and legs and remove the meat. The red roe, or coral, found in female lobsters, is considered by many to be a delicacy and can be reserved for another use. Coarsely chop the lobster tail and claw meat. Reserve the shells for making stock or discard.
- 5. In a bowl, mix the mayonnaise (using a little more or less, depending on how creamy you like it), lemon juice and zest, chives, scallion, just a touch of salt, and pepper to taste. Fold in the lobster meat. Taste and adjust the seasoning accordingly. Cover and refrigerate. (You can make the salad ahead of time, but refrigerate it for no more than 3 to 4 hours.)
- 6. In a skillet over low heat, melt the butter. Cut the baguette pieces in half lengthwise and situate them so the inside of the bread is in the puddle of melted butter. Toast the baguette until it just begins to turn golden brown. (Alternately, brown the hot dog rolls until they begin to turn golden brown, flipping them over so they get toasted and buttery on both sides.) Divide the lobster between the pieces of toasted baguette. Serve the lobster roll immediately.
Lobster Roll Variations
- Stir 1 tablespoon drained capers into the mayo
Toss 2 tablespoons finely chopped celery in with the scallion
Rely on lime juice and zest instead of lemon
Line the baguette with tender leaves of butter lettuce
Slices of ripe tomato 2 strips of cooked country-style bacon
Thin slices of buttery avocado
Very thin slices of red onion
Hungry for more? Chow down on these:
- Lobster Salad with Spicy Adobo-Mayo Sauce from Vanilla Sugar
- Salad Cups with Quinoa, Shrimp, Avocado & Lemon Dressing from Cookin' Canuck
- Seafood Salad with a Creamy Tarragon-Mustard Dressing from Leite's Culinaria
- Steamed Lobster with Drawn Butter from Leite's Culinaria
Lobster Roll Recipe © 2011 Kathy Gunst. Photo © 2011 Alexander Cowan. All rights reserved.