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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Lobster Rolls! An East Coast Favorite!

First things first.  I've never had an authentic lobster roll.  Hell, I've never had any sort of lobster roll before.  I know the buns are supposed to be buttered up and nice and toasty -- but mine aren't, and that's just how I wanted it.  Regardless of its authenticity, it tasted really damned good.  I honestly have no idea how this could have been any better.  Rich, creamy and sweet lobster filling, my wonderful garlic spread, and a perfect Italian roll to go with it.

For something so good, it was so easy to make.  Sure, I bought the rolls.  But as far as the filling...?  Easy, peasy.  One thing to make sure is to get a live lobster.  You might be tempted to get a lobster tail to make the job easier, but nothing compares to a fresh lobster.

I am not going to show you how to kill the lobster.  I don't think it is appropriate to have a picture of it.  But basically you need to have the point of your knife on top of the lobster where you see two lines intersect.  Essentially just the end of the head and the middle of the body.  Push down on the knife and cut the head in half.  Don't be squeamish and just get it over with.  Honestly, you can put it in live too.  I heard lobsters do not have feeling so they won't be 'tortured'.  Up to you.

My lobster was a good 5 lbs so I had to create my own steaming contraption.

It was a huge pot, with a large wok over it, and the pot's lid just to hold the wok down (so the pressure of the steam doesn't push the wok off.  So hopefully you have something better than what I did.

So let's go over the ingredients you'll need:

-5 lb lobster
-1 tbsp garlic spread/aioli
-2 cups cabbage
-2 cups mayo
-Roll of your choice (the East Coast traditionally uses Pepperidge Farm Split Top Rolls)
-Butter (optional)

And that's it.  That's it!


1)  Get your pot ready to steam the lobster.  Whatever vessel you are using, make sure that it will not release all the steam while the lobster is steaming.  Otherwise... your lobster will not steam.

2)  Steam your lobster.  Times vary depending on the size of the lobster.  Also, the season matters.  During summer I heard lobster shells are a lot softer... visit this site if you need more help.

3)  When the lobster is cooked, remove it from the heat and let it cool.  You're going to have fun getting the meat out of the lobster...

4)  When it's cool enough to handle, use kitchen shears to help get out all the meat that you can.  The steaming sort of softens the shell a bit, making it a bit easier to cut the shells at this point.  If the pieces are large, shred them into bite sized pieces.  For the small legs, don't discard them!  Use a rolling pin, or like I did, use  a wine bottle.  Make sure the label is not paper or get rid of the label before rolling.

Do not discard the roe.  Lobster roe is amazing.  It's buttery and rich -- a mix of foie gras and pate.  That's probably why I did not need butter.  But really, it's great stuff.

5)  Mix in the ingredients.  Notice, I gave measurements, but it's really just preference.  For a 5 lb lobster, I used about 2 cups of mayo and 2 cups of cabbage.  Add more or less if you like.  I liked the cabbage in my rolls just for the texture.

6)  That's it.  Put some spread on your roll, toast and butter them if you want (I did not) and add as much filling as you possibly can!