Recipe of the Week, July 15: Lobster Roll
If you're not from the northeast you may never have seen, or even heard of, the lobster roll. Which is too bad, since it may be our country's greatest sandwich creation. So, how did one of our most expensive foods (well, at least it used to be) end up served cold on a toasted hot dog bun?
No one knows with exact certainty, but it seems that while the wealthier women of the 1800's enjoyed lobster at their lavish luncheons, they didn’t like them torn apart table side. So, the cooks for these families started turning the sweet chunks of meat into more user-friendly salads.
Now this delicious lobster salad had to wait patiently, for decades, to be united with its culinary soul mate, the toasted hot dog bun. Which happened sometime after 1912, which was when the first soft hamburger and hot dog buns were commercially manufactured. Now this delicious lobster salad could be eaten with one hand! It was only a matter of time before these amazing sandwiches were being eaten all up and down the New England coast.
If you've never had one, you're missing out on one of life's great food experiences. The timing may be right, since lobster prices have been going down for a while now, and this "special occasion" food is now much more affordable than you may remember. The recipe for Maine lobster rolls could not be easier.
Meat from the claws, knuckles, and tail of a 1 1/4 pound lobster (boil or steam the lobster yourself, or ask your fish market to do it for you), cut into small chunks with any cartilage and the dark vein-like organ from the tail removed (if you're patient, you can pick out the meat from the body to use later for lobster bisque or in a creamy pasta sauce)
2 tablespoons mayonnaise (in other words, one tablespoon per lobster)
4 lemon wedges
1 medium stalk of celery (optional), finely diced
2 New England-style hot dog rolls (they're split along the top - we call them "top-loaders"). If you live outside of New England and can't find these, take a regular hot dog bun and slice off the crust on the bottom and top so that it resembles a New England roll
2 - 4 tablespoons of softened butter
Potato chips and pickle for serving (optional)
Have you ever had a Lobster Roll? I've been seeing them this summer on several restaurant menus, and I'm not in the Northeast.