I realize some of you may have looked at the title of this and scratched your head, wondering what the heck a lobster roll was. Until recently, I thought everyone knew what they were, but apparently that’s not the case. However, if you’re from New England, you’re definitely familiar with these wonderfully decadent treats.
Lobster rolls basically take a delicacy and turns it into more casual fare. The cooked lobster meat is removed from the body, chopped into large chunks, tossed with mayonnaise and a little celery, seasoned… and then stuffed into a buttery grilled hot dog bun.
At once it feels both incredibly trashy and ridiculously extravagant.
Lobster rolls can be found at a number of establishments in Boston, but I have to admit, I haven’t found one that has really blown my mind (and, for the price that you can pay, sometimes it’s a bit of a disappointment).
The few good ones that I’ve had I found on the Cape, but even those seemed overpriced ($16) for something you could probably make at home for half that cost.
There’s a long story to go along with this post, but I’ll try to keep it short. You see, Eric and I were given a very generous wedding gift from our friends Jacob and Joely for a class at Stir, Barbara Lynch’s cookbook store and demonstration room. These classes are very difficult to get into. They announce a date when they’ll open up registration and you have to call in immediately to try to reserve a spot.
Eric and I spent weeks figuring out which of their amazing classes we’d want to take and decided to go with one that would fit our (ok, my) pescatarian diet. The class focused on the classic recipes of B+G Oysters, Lynch’s highly acclaimed seafood restaurant located in Boston’s South End.
We went into Stir not knowing what to expect. But as soon as we entered the room, we were made to feel right at home. And for the next few hours, we were wined and dined (and were given a little education as well). The highlight of the night were the lobster rolls, one of B&G’s signature dishes. Eric and I fell in love (with the dish) after our first bite and knew that we had to recreate these at home.
And such an opportunity came when we hosted a winter BBQ at our apartment this past weekend. Eric went out and purchased the lobsters (twelve of them), came home and removed the meat, while I made the lemon aioli and chopped up some celery and grilled the buns.
There are no words to describe how wonderful these lobster rolls are. You can pull out every descriptor in the thesaurus, but it won’t capture the beauty of this dish.
B+G Oysters Lobster Rolls
(recipe from Barbara Lynch’s B+G Oysters in Boston, MA)
Makes 4 servings
Brian’s Note: Many of you have written me asking if you could use frozen lobster instead of fresh because you can’t get fresh lobster in your area. I have never tried frozen lobster, so I can’t say how it would turn out. I imagine the meat wouldn’t have that rich, sweet flavor that you get from fresh lobster. With that being said, I’m sure it would still taste very good because the real key here is the aioli.
4 each – whole lobsters, each about 1 ¼ pounds
1 cup – Hellman’s mayonnaise (or Lemon Aiöli, see recipe below)
1 teaspoon – fresh lemon juice (leave out if using the aïoli)
1/2 cup – finely peeled and finely minced celery
4 each – top-split hot dog rolls; we use Pepperidge Farm
4 tablespoons – unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon – finely chopped chives
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and fill a clean sink or very large bowl with ice water. Cook the lobsters, covered, in a large pot of boiling water, about 10 minutes. Plunge them into the ice water to halt the cooking. Remove all of the meat from the tail, knuckle and claw and cut into generous bite size pieces. Gently toss the lobster meat with the mayonnaise, lemon juice, and celery. Season to taste with salt and pepper and refrigerate until ready to serve.
To serve, cut the inside of the hot dog buns on each side at an angle to make a wider roll. Butter the hot dog rolls on the outside and toast them on a griddle or skillet until nicely golden brown. Taste the lobster salad again to see if it needs more seasoning and divide the lobster salad among the four rolls, overstuffing them.
Garnish the lobster with the chives.
makes about 1 cup
2 each – egg yolks
1 tablespoon – lemon juice
1 teaspoon – lemon zest
1 teaspoon – kosher salt
¾ cup – grapeseed or canola oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Whisk the egg yolks, 1 teaspoon of the lemon juice, lemon zest, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper, until combined. Slowly drizzle in the grapeseed oil while whisking nonstop until the mixture begins to emulsify.
As the mixture thickens, also whisk in the remaining lemon juice and continue to whisk in the oil until mixture has achieved a thick, mayonnaise-like consistency. Taste and adjust the seasonings.