Monday, July 11, 2011

ingredient: LOBSTER

Lobsters are really enjoying their five minutes of fame. I've seen people in New York pay upwards of thirty dollars for a lobster roll. And before everyone jumps on my fellow citizens, I know for a fact it's not just the locals. Yes, lobster tastes good, but really this crustaceon has developed its own brand. Eating a lobster roll signifies you've probably been to Montauk, maybe even Nantucket or Cape Cod. Indulging in lobster rolls means you probably own boat shoes, definitely have a polo, and your sunglasses might have cost more than my dinner. Personally I'm not really into eating something with the same face as the design on my belt, but as long as you appreciate how awesome lobsters are, I'm not really against it, either.

In a way it makes sense that lobsters are the original blue bloods. Literal blue bloods, that is. Their blood contains haemocyanin and copper which turns it a shade of blue, and they've been around since the Cretaceous period. Lobsters can be found in almost every ocean, feasting on a range of mollusks, sea plants, and fish. They are pretty primordial in appearance- with their beady eyes and ten legs and no backbone and big ass claws. But most impressive might be their virility: lobsters get more fertile with age. That's pretty mind boggling when you consider that lobsters can live to be fifty years old. A fifty year old lobster at the peak of his sexual prowess? That's hotter than the East Hampton club he'll be sold at.

John's Lobster Rolls

Despite their recent surge in popularity, I assumed that lobsters always had a certain air of elegance around them. Sure, in the 1800s they joined oysters at the top of the "most under appreciated food" list, but by the 1980s everyone knew how chic lobster was. Right?

Well, apparently not if you're a kid living in Maine in the early eighties, where lobster meat was actually cheaper per pound than ground beef. Apparently if you're this kid, you think that ground beef is for fancy occasions, while lobster is the equivalent of a chicken dinner.

When I first heard this story from my boyfriend (who is the kid in question) I was struck both by how cute and how completely crazy this story was. Ground beef? Really? Well, sucks for me for not having lived in Maine, because this story has been validated by people who were actual adults at the time in question.

Having spent every summer in Cape Cod since birth, I have a lot of opinions on lobster rolls. Luckily for me, John (who will henceforth be known as "I can't believe it's not beef!") makes one mean lobster roll. Even better, he'll do the dirty work of killing the poor blokes and then dismembering their bodies, leaving me to nothing more strenuous than stealing the claws out of the bowl while he's not looking.

Serves 4


4 one pound lobsters (or, if you're gluttonous like us, 4 1.5-pound lobsters so you can make 1.5 rolls per person)
2 tablespoons mayo
1 teaspoon lemon juice
salt and pepper

4 New England style split top rolls
2 tablespoons butter
4 butter lettuce leaves

Note: I never like celery in my lobster roll. Sometimes I like chopped chives, but here the meat was so juicy, so tender and sweet, it didn't need anything at all.


Fill a a large bowl with ice water. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. As quickly as possible, knife the poor lobsters through the head to kill them. Put lobster (my pot fit one lobster at a time) in boiling water and cook until red in color and cooked through but not rubbery. This will take about 4 minutes for a 1 pound lobster.

Transfer lobster to ice bath to stop cooking and continue to boil remaining lobsters.

When lobsters have been cooked and cooled, pick out the meat and discard the shells. Roughly chop the meat and transfer to a large bowl.

Add mayo and lemon juice to bowl. Toss to combine. Season lobster meat with salt and pepper.

I think lobster meat tastes best chilled, so at this point I always like to let my lobster meat rest in the fridge for an hour or more.

When you're ready to serve, melt one tablespoon of butter in a large skillet. Put first bun into pan and toast until golden, flipping over to toast second side. Repeat with next bun. Before toasting third bun, melt second tablespoon of butter.

Open a bun and put down one leaf of butter lettuce. Fill bun with lobster meat. Serve with a cold beer and follow with chocolate dipped soft serve.


  1. Having lived in the Portland area during the late '80s and early 90's, I too can confirm that lobsters were to be had for less than the price of some hamburger. They were "soft shell" lobsters available at the local fishmonger or roadside vendors. Like the Maryland soft shell blue crabs they are simply lobsters that were caught soon after molting. The shells are like paper and can be torn apart with your fingers alone. The flesh is softer than "hard shell" lobster and tends to shrink a bit while cooking, but they taste equally delicious. So while the rest of the country are shipped, and pay a higher price for, the hard shells, Mainiacs are feasting on a bounty of very affordable soft shell lobsters. Incidentally after all those years and many, many lobster rolls on the Maine coast, I've never seen one that looks more scrumptious than you boyfriends. No pun intended Carrie but,...
    Great Catch!

  2. ijust bougth some lobster,
    i'm gonna try out your recipes..
    thx for sharing