To get a pure, New England lobster roll, you need to do little more than toss lobster meat with mayonnaise and stuff it in a buttered and toasted hot dog bun. But from there a million and two different variations bloom to form a lobster roll cult where members spend their summers roaming from clam shacks and seaside cafes to compare the minute differences between rolls; one adds chives, another is served on brioche and perhaps the most famous variation is Boston’s Neptune Oyster hot lobster roll that is served hot and poached in butter.
The world does not need another classic lobster roll recipe. For my lobster roll, I keep only the most basic of necessities, lobster, mayo, roll. Yes, I keep these, but then I add stuff – a bunch of stuff. If you are purist, I suggest you cover your eyes and say a prayer of tolerance because I’m about to go all crazy on your lobster roll.
At first my additions stay within the boundaries of normal lobster rolls. Celery, chives, parsley and lemon are not unheard of in a lobster roll. Even a little whole-grain Dijon isn’t unprecedented. But now is the time I do what I’ve been wanting to do since I moved my Baltimore-born self to New England. I add Old Bay. Not just a lite sprinkle either. I add it instead of salt and keep adding to taste.
But, that is not the biggest variation. I stuff the lobster salad into something other than a hot dog bun (gasps heard everywhere). The roll has to be thin enough so it doesn’t overpower the lobster salad, but sturdy enough to hold the stuffins’ up. I prefer a hearty sub roll lightly toasted so that the outside is crisp and the inside is soft. I also like a few peppery greens like arugula or watercress in the roll too.
So there you have it. Scandalous maybe, but it’s good – damn good! It’s not the most outrageous lobster roll you’ve ever seen. I think Thrillist may have that all wrapped up with the Raman Lobster Roll.
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons whole-grain Dijon mustard
- 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning (to taste)
- 8 ounces cooked lobster meat picked from 2 - 1 1/4 lb lobsters, coarsly chopped
- 1 cup arugula or watercress, rinsed and dried
- 2-3 sub rolls, brioche rolls, or hot dog buns
- Mix mayo, celery, chives, parsley, lemon juice, and Old Bay together in a medium mixing bowl. Fold in the lobster meat and season to taste with more lemon juice and Old Bay. Set aside.
- Toast the rolls lightly until the outside is just crisp and the inside is still soft. Allow to cool slightly. Add the greens and divide the lobster salad evenly between the rolls. Serve immediately.
- To take lobster rolls on a picnic, prepare the salad, wash the greens and toast the rolls ahead of time and transport items in separate containers. Then right before serving, assemble the sandwiches.