Hello! Welcome to Djalali Cooks. Recently, a reader requested the Lobster Roll post from Kelly’s Kitchen to be reposted here. So today, please enjoy the Best of Both Worlds Lobster Roll.
This recipe is from Bon Appétit and they call it the Best-of-Both-Worlds Lobster Roll. Why? Well, it turns out that there is quite a debate between Maine and Connecticut about the best lobster roll. Maine has its own style, which is served cold and involves a mayonnaise based sauce that coats the lobster – more like lobster salad. And Connecticut has its own style, in which the warm lobster is tossed in melted lemon butter. No mayo in the Connecticut version. BA’s recipe perfectly blends the two styles for a whole new sandwich. Serve it warm or cold. It’s delicious both ways.
Instead of whole lobsters, I have 6 lobster tails. I am using my bamboo steamer for the job because it can hold a large amount of food.
I lined my baskets with parchment paper and fit three tails per basket. Get your pot of water boiling and set your lidded basket tiers on top of your pot.
They cook fast, about 6 minutes. If you use a bamboo steamer like mine, the top tier may need another minute longer. So use oven mitts to take the whole basket off the pot and set it down on a cutting board or a towel-lined countertop. Then, take the top tier and lid, and place it back on the pot for one more minute. Tails are done when they are bright red.
Let the tails sit until they are cool enough to handle. Then, take a tail, and with the underside up, slice down the length of the tail with a large, sharp knife. Or use a pair of kitchen shears to cut the underside of the tail. Starting at the top, wiggle your fingers between the meat and the shell to dislodge the meat. Do this down the length of the tail until the meat is free. Then slice the tail into large-ish chunks.
Dice your celery and thinly slice the chives. Mix the mayo with the lemon juice and zest, add the celery and one tablespoon of the chives. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set the dressing aside.
The recipe calls for six tablespoons unsalted butter; four for the lobster and two for toasting the buns. I wanted to do something a little different, so I swapped one tablespoon of unsalted for one tablespoon of a garlic basil compound butter. If you want to do this too, you can easily make your own by mixing softened butter with herbs, garlic and salt. I like to keep some kind of compound butter on hand, it’s a nice thing to use on corn on the cob or to top a steak.
I could not find the traditional New England style buns so I got brioche hot dog buns and very thinly sliced off the top and bottom of each bun. Brush your reserved melted butter on the cut tops and bottoms of your buns and toast in a hot, dry skillet.
Put the butter in a saucepan and gently melt it on the stove over low heat. Transfer two tablespoons of the butter for brushing the buns. Then, toss your lobster in the butter remaining in the pot. Over very low heat, slightly warm the lobster through and stir to coat in the butter. Remove it from the heat.
Gently stir the buttery lobster into the mayo dressing we set aside and you’re all set!
Another lobster roll controversy: lettuce. I like the addition of the lettuce leaf to keep the bun from getting too soggy. Especially since I have brioche buns, which are so soft to begin with. BA recommends this in their recipe and I think it’s a sound idea. But you can go without the lettuce leaf, if you prefer.
To assemble, lay your lettuce leaf on your bun, pile on the lobster and sprinkle on the remaining chives.
This recipe was a lot of fun to make. We don’t often have lobster so it was quite a treat. If lobster is too pricey for you, this may be the most controversial thing to say…but, try it with shrimp. I know, I know it’s a completely different animal. BUT! Texturally, they’re similar and I think shrimp would be a delicious way to go.
Thank you so much for joining me today for this oldie-but-goodie, Best of Both Worlds Lobster Rolls! From time to time readers reach out for specific recipes, either reposts of Kelly’s Kitchen or brand new ideas; if you have an idea for something new you’d like to see here, or if you would like to see a Kelly’s Kitchen post, shoot me an email, or reach out on facebook or Instagram and let me know. In case you missed Monday’s seafood salad post: Mediterranean Tuna Salad, check it out! Take care and be well, xo Kelly
Best of Both Worlds Lobster Roll
Maine and Connecticut Lobster Roll styles come together in this buttery, creamy lobster roll recipe.
- 3 1.75-lb. Live Lobsters, or 6 Lobster Tails
- 1/4 cup Mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup Diced Celery
- 1/2 tsp. Lemon Zest
- 1/2 tbsp. Lemon Juice
- 1 tbsp. Chives, plus more for serving
- Kosher Salt, Fresh Ground Black Pepper
- 5 tbsp. Unsalted Butter
- 4 New England Style Split Top buns, or hot dog buns with the top and bottom sliced off
- 2 Green or Red Lettuce Leaves
Fit a large pot with a steamer basket and pour in water to come to top of basket. Place over high heat.
If using live lobsters, dispatch lobsters by using a sharp chef’s knife (and one fell swoop) to split the front section of each between the eyes. Place lobsters in pot, cover, and steam (the pot should be actively filled with steam) until shells are bright red and tails are curled, 6–8 minutes. Let sit until cool enough to handle, 12–15 minutes.
Meanwhile, mix mayonnaise, celery, lemon zest, lemon juice, and 1 Tbsp. chives in a medium bowl to combine; season dressing with salt and pepper.
Remove lobster meat from shells and cut into large pieces; discard shells.
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat; transfer 2 tablespoons melted butter to a small bowl and set aside for brushing buns.
Add lobster meat to remaining butter in saucepan and toss to coat. Cook, tossing occasionally, until just warmed through (it should not be hot; you don’t want it to overcook), about 4 minutes. Season with salt, then spoon lobster meat into bowl with dressing with a slotted spoon and gently toss to coat.
Heat a dry large skillet over medium. Brush reserved butter over outsides of buns. Toast, buttered side down, until golden, about 3 minutes per side.
Line each bun with a piece of lettuce and spoon in dressed lobster; top with more chives.