Superbowl Eats: New England Lobster Rolls
Cary, NC — In recognition of the Seahawks, CaryCitizen published a recipe for Seattle Hot Dogs last Thursday. But, if you’re a Patriots fan, this is your week. Here’s a recipe for New England Lobster Rolls and, if you’re a lobster-newbie like me, a “cheater’s” recipe for the same dish made with crab meat instead.
The New England Lobster Roll
Traditional lobster rolls are sandwiches filled with butter-soaked lobster meat. Yum, right? The first lobster roll originated at a restaurant in Milford, Connecticut in 1929. This dish is associated with Maine, but it’s also popular in the other New England states.
We can enjoy them here, too, especially if you want to show loyalty to the Patriots by serving the dish at a Super Bowl party. Lobster rolls are funny–in theory, they’re just sandwiches served on buns and commonly served with chips and veggies. Simple for a party, right? Not really.
If you’re serving a crowd, cooking the lobster will be a process. So, as delicious as the real thing sounds, I thought I’d provide an easier, cheaper alternative. I’ve listed that first, but it’s also followed by a real lobster roll recipe.
Recipe: Crab Rolls
If you don’t want to take the time to boil a lobster and collect the meat (or if, like me, you can’t bring yourself to handle and boil a whole lobster) then this recipe is for you.
- 6 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3/4 pound fresh crabmeat, picked over
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped green onions
- 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, room temperature
- 4 hot dog buns, sides split open
- 4 red leaf or Bibb lettuce leaves
- Whisk together mayonnaise, lemon juice, lemon peel, and cayenne pepper in medium bowl.
- Mix in crab meat and chopped green onions. Season crab salad to taste with salt and pepper.
- Spread butter on insides of hot dog buns.
- Warm large skillet over medium heat 1 minute.
- Place buns, buttered side down, in preheated skillet and toast until golden, about 5 minutes. Place 1 lettuce leaf inside each bun. Divide crab salad among buns and serve.
Recipe: Lobster Rolls
Here’s the real thing. I’d love to know what you thought about the process, especially if you’re preparing lobster at home for the first time. From the Food Network.
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
- 1 (1-1/2-pound) whole live lobster
- 1/4 cup small-dice celery (from about 1 medium celery stalk)
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 top-split hot dog buns
Cooking the lobster
- Fill a large pot with 1 inch of water and stir in the measured salt. Add a steamer rack to the pot. (If you don’t have a steamer rack, lightly bunch a long piece of foil so that it looks like a rope, then make a figure eight out of the foil rope and set it in the pot).
- Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Add the lobster to the pot head-first, cover with a tightfitting lid, and return the water to a full boil. Reduce the heat and cook at a gentle boil until the lobster is bright red, about 14 minutes from the time it went into the pot.
- Pull on an antenna. If the antenna comes out with no resistance, the lobster is done. Remove the lobster to a rimmed baking sheet and let it sit until it’s cool enough to handle.
Obtaining the meat
- Using your hands, twist and separate the tail from the body.
- Twist and remove both claws where they meet the lobster body; set aside. Discard the head and torso. Starting with the tail, remove the small, wispy flippers from the underside of the shell. Using a fork, pierce the exposed tail meat.
- Slowly twist and pull it out of the shell in one piece. Rinse any white debris off the tail meat and set it aside on a cutting board. Discard the shell of the tail. Twist the claws and separate them from the legs; set them aside.
- Gently wiggle and pull the smaller part of the pincer shell off each claw.
- Using a seafood cracker, gently crack the claws, remove the meat, and set it aside on the cutting board. Check the meat for any cartilage or shell and discard it.
- Coarsely chop the reserved meat and place it in a medium bowl (you should have about a cup).
Making the salad
- Add the celery and mayonnaise; season with salt and pepper.
- Stir to combine.
- Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to six hours.
- Spread butter on the outside of the buns. Heat a medium frying pan over medium heat.
- Place the buns butter-side down in the pan and toast until golden brown.
- Repeat on the other side.
- Divide the lobster salad between the buns and serve immediately.
Potato chips, sweet pickles, and carrot and celery sticks are easy sides to complement your rolls.
Story by Jessica Patrick. Photo by pixxiestails.