The best New England Lobster Rolls are surprisingly easy to make when you can’t visit your local lobster shack. I grew up mostly going to Woodman’s on the North Shore, Markey’s or Brown’s Lobster Pool in New Hampshire, and Chauncey Creek Lobster Pier in Maine. Lobster Shacks, Lobster Pounds, even private homes whose boats were docked in the back were our haunts and they signified summer was in full swing. These joints are some of the original New England lobster summer shacks – sorry Jasper White! BYOB is still the name of the game at lots of these lobster shacks, sea gulls often steal the food of unsuspecting diners and your number is still called out over a loud speaker when your order is ready. Straight up New England charm!
New Englanders are a tough breed. We weather seasons, storms and love a good argument. Red Sox vs. Yankees. Manhattan Clam Chowder vs. New England Clam Chowdah. What we do not argue about are the merits of what make up a good ole Lobstah Roll. Welllll- not exactly, there is a hierarchy of accepted ingredients. On everyone’s list of acceptable ingredients are big chunks of New England Lobster, top-split hot dog bun buttered and toasted to glorious perfection, and mayonnaise.
Now here is where it gets dicey. Families and Lobster Pounds take sides with regards to Cains vs. Hellmann’s mayonnaise, celery or no celery, chilled or room temp lobster, shredded lettuce or one big piece of lettuce or no lettuce, and whether lemon juice is really necessary. And don’t even get me going on brioche!
I have drawn the proverbial line in the beach sand and present you the Best New England Lobster Roll Recipe… of all time!
yields 4 Lobster Rolls
Two 1 1/2 pound lobsters, or 3/4 pound lobster meat
2-3 tablespoons Cains mayonnaise 🙂
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 stalk of celery, chopped
coarse or sea salt
freshly ground pepper
4 top-split hot-dog buns
2 tablespoons butter – for rolls
1. Pour water 1 inch deep into a large pot and bring to boil. Salt water generously. Plunge lobsters head first into boiling water, cover, and cook until bright red (around 8-10 minutes). Using tongs remove lobsters and set aside to let cool. If you would like to speed up the cooling process, have an ice water bath ready to submerge lobsters.
**You can skip this whole step (I did) and ask your fishmonger to steam the lobsters for you. Usually there is no charge for this service!
2. Twist off the lobster tails and claws and remove the meat. If you don’t have lobster crackers, use the back of a knife or hammer to break open lobster claws. Remove and discard the dark intestinal vein that runs the length of each lobster tail. If your lobster has tamale and roe, you may either add or discard, depending on your preference.
3. Tear lobster meat into 1/2 inch pieces. In a bowl mix lobster, mayonnaise, diced celery and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
4. Heat a large skillet on moderate heat with butter. Add hot dog buns to skillet and flip once golden brown, around 2 minutes each side. Transfer warm, buttered hot dog buns to plate and fill with lobster salad. Serve immediately.
If you can’t find New England-style top split buns, trim 1/4 inch from both sides of standard hot dog bun to remove crust. This will expose more surface area.
For a less traditional New England style lobster roll, feel free to add chives or tarragon, lemon zest for freshness, or cayenne or chipotle for some kick in the butt heat. Boston Lettuce is also acceptable.
Look at those golden buns — beauteous! Don’t skimp on the butter. The buttery roll is just as important as the lobster meat itself! If you have a cast iron skillet, now’s the time to use it. I’m too lazy to individually butter the buns and prefer to plop a big chunk of butter directly into the pan and butter my buns quickly!
This lobster roll is everything you want it to be. Sweet, salty, creamy, crunchy and buttery perfection. What more could you ask for???
This being a New England themed Lobstah dinnah, it is completely mandatory to serve this New England Lobstah Roll with an ice cold beer and chips. I opted for a refreshing Whale’s Tale Pale Ale from Nantucket’s Cisco Brewery and Cape Cod Potato Chips. Allagash Belgian White from Maine with a slice of orange is a perfect beer choice with lobster as well.
If you have the time and culinary inclination, onion rings and French fries would send this meal over.
I couldn’t resist steaming up some clams while the lobsters were chilling! Steamers dunked in lemon butter just seem right, especially with a beer.
Lobster Rolls are a wicked good thing!