Whether you are from New England or not, chances are you are pretty fussy about your lobster roll. You may like it warm, with butter – or cold, with mayo. You probably have opinions on the type of bun to use, the ratio of lobster meat, and even from which waters the best lobster can be found.
But chances are, no matter where you stand on these issues of debate, you know lobster rolls are delicious and will enjoy them every chance you can get.
“The summer I was 20, I worked at Islesford Dock Restaurant, a small restaurant on Islesford Island, close to Bar Harbor in Maine. Every day before service we would walk down to the end of the dock get our lobsters out of traps that the lobster fishermen would leave in the water for us. We sold an infinite amount of lobster rolls. While working there I learned that the key to a great lobster roll as with many other things is simplicity and quality ingredients,” says Chef Nicole Votano, is executive chef of Fooq’s Miami.
Lobster rolls should be about delicious simplicity. You want to highlight the lobster and surround it with supporting fresh ingredients that will showcase the ocean and the freshness of the lobster. “A lobster roll is pure gluttony if it’s done right. There are technically two versions of a lobster roll, cold lobster salad with mayo or warm lobster with butter. What inspired my lobster roll was going to Kennebunkport, Maine and eating at The Clam Shack. The lobster roll is served on a hamburger bun and they ask if you want butter, mayonnaise or both. I always say both!” says Chef Roy Wohlars, Executive Chef at HARBOR, in Montauk.
In lobster rolls, the lobster should always be the star. Never overpower the meat and make sure there’s plenty of it in every bite. “Lobster quality is very important. You want to use just shucked hard shell knuckle and claw lobster meat. It’s important that the lobster is steamed, but not over cooked,” says owner of Bob’s Clam Hut in Kittery, Maine Michael Landgarten. Don’t cut the lobster meat, tear by hand. Also, says Landgarten, make sure to gently squeeze out any excess juice and when mixing your lobster meat with mayo, make sure to evenly coat.
Use whole butter on the outside of the roll to create a perfectly crisp exterior. The milk fat from the whole butter adds a beautiful butteriness to the dish, says Tavistock Restaurant Collection (parent company of Boston’s landmark seafood restaurant Atlantic Fish Co.) Culinary Director Patrick Quakenbush.
“The buns are also a very important. You must use New England Style hot dog buns. They are cut vertically, not horizontally which is important so you can butter both sides and brown it in a skillet until it is golden brown, they also stand up which is important so the lobster salad doesn’t fall out,” says Votano.
In lobster rolls, the classic is always a favorite – but there’s some delicious ways to switch it up as well!