Lobster roll

IMG_5186

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is no arguing, I have a passion for seafood and a husband who does not give a shell for a clam or a crab which can make coastal holidays and heaping platters of fruits de mer for two a little testing but can be a blessing in disguise when it comes to lobster. In the early days when he ate a huge pot of jet-black mussels with gusto or swooned when I served him self-made sushi (dressed) while never revealing that seafood is not really his thing, I cooked a romantic lobster dinner for two. He drew the line at lobster, owned up and there I was facing two fair-sized lobster halves – yup, hard life, I know. Nowadays we are wiser and lobster is again on the menu for those tête-à-têtes but we’ll celebrate with a surf & turf: steak for Monsieur and lobster for Madame.

I adore lobster any way it comes and am happy to do (a lot) more research (sponsors welcome) regarding the non plus ultra recipe for this fantastic crustacean but I am a total sucker for a good lobster roll. And I am proud to say I found the one. The ONE. That one that does make you happy (apart from my husband, of course – I feel I should mention that here), the one that delights me every time and the one that I do not, never ever, want to change from: a lobster-mayonnaise salad on a butter-toasted bun. Preferably made by the high-priestess of lobster rolls & Maine comfort food, Rebecca Charles and served at the counter at her New York City restaurant Pearl Oyster Bar alongside a towering mountain of shoestring fries and a glass of crisp, cold white wine. I love it in its unadulterated incarnation when in New York but at home, I’ll eat its European twin with my tweaks:

All you purists, Maniacs, experts, New Englanders, avert your eyes for I include shallots in my lobster roll (& celery) and love it. Also, no Hellmann’s is touching my lobster but a homemade or a piquant, eggy French Gourmet mayonnaise. While we are already dismembering the true lobster roll, make your own buns! I have no chance of getting the universally agreed upon Pepperridge farm roll over here and abandoned the brioche in favour of a soft, fractionally sweet, light but densely crumbed potato bun which is heavenly (I am sure you could shape a few into rolls but buns get more lobster and the rest will hug a hamburger). You might get prosecuted but I assure you it will be worth it. As a last resort, check for ships leaving from Plymouth Rock.

Traditionally, lobster rolls are served with potato crisps but Pearl’s fantastic shoestring fries on the side are the ultimate treat. Our buns are made of potatoes so I’ll skip the extra starch and stay with a single lobster roll with just a glass of cold white wine on the side. Ups, mentioned wine twice now, I think it must be 5 o’clock somewhere in the world now.
lobster roll


Lobster rolls / Lobster buns

Makes 4-6 generous rolls. Inspired and adapted from Rebecca Charles of Pearl Oyster Bar and Deborah DiClementi: Lobster Rolls & Blueberry Pie.

 

Lobster meat (from a 1.5kg / 3½ lbs lobster or 4-5 smaller 560g / 1¼ lbs. lobsters)*
1 shallot, finely minced
1 celery rib, very finely chopped
mayonnaise (homemade or really good shop-bought like Maille Fine Gourmet)
lemon
salt & pepper
butter
potato buns or rolls (alternative: light brioche, Milchbrötchen or hot dog buns)

 

*Which lobster? Get Atlantic lobster from Maine or the New England coast. Canadian lobster is mostly sold in Europe, please do not use a French lobster for a lobster roll that would be an (expensive) sacrilege. Unless you live on the coast of Brittany and they just jump uninvited into your boat.

Cook the lobster:
In Germany, the only legal method to kill a lobster (cause you need to get a live lobster) is to throw it head first into boiling water (rolling boil). Court bouillon (water, white wine, celery, carrot, onion, lemon, salt, herbs, bay leaf, pepper corn) is my choice here: it subtly seasons & perfumes the meat enhancing its flavour. Cover with a lid, bring back to a boil and cook according to the weight of your lobster. A 500g lobster will need 10 minutes while a bigger 1.5 kg lobster will need about 20 minutes (calculate 10 minutes for the first 500g, add 1 minute for every 100g). Stop the cooking process in an ice bath and leave to cool.

Steam the lobster:
Other countries allow different methods of cooking a lobster depending on your conscience, squeamishness and taste preferences, e.g. there is a fiercely fought debate in the Main(e) lobster headquarter about steaming versus cooking, where lobster afficionados proclaim the superior taste of a steamed crustacean. Steam a lobster (remember, not allowed in Germany) over at least 2 inches / 10cm of boiling salted water or court bouillon (see above) for 10 minutes for the first 1 lb. (454g) and another 2 minutes for each ¼ lb., which would be 12 minutes for 1¼ lobsters or around 28-30 minutes for a 1.5kg / 3½ pounder (steaming times according to GetMaineLobster).

Preparing the lobster:
Detach claws and legs and pull the tail from the head with a twist. Cut the tail in half, remove intestine. Bend the thumb off the claw, take the meat out and with a few fearless whacks by the blunt side of a heavy knife crack the thick claw, twist it once to pry open the shell and remove the claw meat in one piece. Take a lobster fork to extricate the knuckle meat while a thin lobster pick is good to work the thin legs. Chop into small bite sized pieces.

Make lobster rolls:
Mix lobster meat with shallot, celery and enough mayonnaise to hold together but not smother. Season with a squeeze of lemon juice, salt & pepper. Melt a little butter in a pan and gently fry the cut sides of your buns until buttery & toasted. Fill your buns or rolls with lobster filling and enjoy….

 

 

Deutsches Rezept:

lobster roll


New England lobster roll / Neuengland Hummerbrötchen

6 Portionen. Inspiriert von Rebecca Charles of Pearl Oyster Bar and Deborah DiClementi: Lobster rolls & Blueberry Pie jedoch im europäischen Gewand und anderer Hülle.

 

Hummerfleisch (von 1,5kg Hummer oder 4-5 kleineren 560g Hummern)*
1 Schalotte, sehr fein gehackt
1 Bleichselleriestange, sehr fein gewürfelt
Mayonnaise (selbstgemacht oder sehr gute gekaufte wie z.B. Maille Fine Gourmet; in den USA bevorzugt man Hellmann’s)
Zitronensaft
Salz & Pfeffer
Butter
weiche Kartoffelbrötchen (alternativ: Milchbrötchen, Brioche- oder Hot dog-Brötchen)

 

*Welcher Hummer? Am besten atlantischer Hummer aus Kanada oder von der neuenglischen Küste und nicht den doppelt so teuren, aber exquisiten französischen Hummer – der ist für Hummerbrötchen wirklich zu schade. Außer man lebt an der bretonischen Küste und die Hummer hüpfen scharenweise ins Boot wie im Schlaraffenland. Oh Mann, wir brauchen dringend Urlaub.

Hummer kochen:
Die einzige legale Methode in Deutschland einen lebenden Hummer zu kochen ist ihn kopfüber in ein siedendes Wasserbad, also sprudelnd kochendes Wasser oder eine aromatische Court Bouillon (Wasser, Weißwein, Zwiebel, Sellerie, Karotte, Zitrone, Kräuter, Lorbeerblatt, Pfefferkörner) zu tauchen, Deckel auflegen, wieder zum Kochen bringen und einen 1,5kg schweren Hummer 20 Minuten ziehen lassen, ein handelsüblicher 500g Hummer für eine Person braucht nur 10 Minuten (man rechnet 10 Minuten für die ersten 500g und 5 Minuten für jedes weitere Pfund oder 1 Minute pro 100g). In Eiswasser abschrecken (um den Kochvorgang zu stoppen) und den Hummer abkühlen lassen.

Wie bereits oben gesagt ist dies die einzig erlaubte Methode in Deutschland wohingegen es zum Beispiel im amerikanischen Maine (jeder andere neuenglische Küstenstaat beansprucht gleichfalls den Titel einer lobster roll Kapazität) eine deutliche Präferenz zu gedämpftem Hummer vorherrscht. Alles Teil einer intensiv geführten Debatte über die Vor- und Nachteile sowie die unterschiedlichen geschmacklichen Nuancen von gekochtem im Vergleich zu gedämpftem Hummer. Für alle, die dies außerhalb Deutschlands zubereiten wollen, s.o. für entsprechende Zeiten.

Hummer zerlegen:
Scheren und Beine vom Körper abdrehen, ebenso den Schwanz vom Kopf trennen. Den Hummerschwanz halbieren und den Darm entfernen. Den ‚Daumen’ umbiegen und das Fleisch herausziehen, die Scheren mit der stumpfen Seite eines schweren Messers mit ein paar beherzten Schlägen brechen. Ein letzter Hieb mit der scharfen Seite, das Messer zu beiden Seiten drehen um so die harte Schale auseinanderzubiegen und die schöne Schere im Ganzen herauszulösen (man will den Hummer ja nicht immer kleinschneiden). Mit einer Hummergabel kann das Fleisch einfach aus den Gelenken gewonnen werden, ein Hummerpicker hingegen ist gut für die dünnen Beine. Das Fleisch anschließend in mundgerechte, nicht zu kleine Stücke schneiden.

Lobster rolls:
Hummerfleisch mit Schalotten- und Selleriewürfelchen mischen. Nur so viel Mayonnaise hinzugeben, dass die Mischung zusammenhält und mit Zitronensaft, Salz & Pfeffer würzen. Butter in einer Pfanne zerlassen und die aufgeschnittenen Kartoffelbrötchen darin kurz braten bis die Schnittfläche leicht knusprig und butterig ist. Sofort mit Hummerfleisch füllen und genießen…

P.S. In Neuengland ist man Lobster rolls gerne mit gesalzenen Kartoffelchips oder mit shoestring fries (sehr dünnen Pommes frites) wie Rebecca Charles, die in meinen Augen die (fast) beste Lobster roll macht. Und trotzdem habe ich an ihrer Version herumgedoktort und das ultimative europäisch-neuenglische Hummerbrötchen für mich maßgeschneidert. Die Traditionalisten werden die Säbel wetzen.

Advertisements

17 thoughts on “Lobster roll

  1. I love lobster roll and get all the time outside my home but have never made them myself. Partly because I cannot imagine cooking a live lobster. Kind of freaks me out. One day I will try this.

    • Yes, that’s about the hardest thing to do. On the East coast it is easy to get very good-quality cooked lobster. A very nifty trick to avoid the dilemma is to get the lobster cooked by a restaurant’s friendly kitchen staff – as does someone I know.
      I tell myself that if I want to eat it, I should be able to do it, otherwise there would be no lobster roll. Thus I argue & brace myself, put on the thick leather bbq gloves (just in case) and get the longest tongs we own (just in case again) to wrestle the very big lobsters, all because I am not even half as courageous as I might sound. Nicole

  2. I adore lobster too and all things seafood, Nicole! I love this recipe and the fact that you posted it! I think celery really does add flavor and texture. This reminds me of summer days by the sea and all the wonder and carefree feelings of sun and sea. This post has me swooning and hopeful.

    • Amanda, you make me long for the summer now even more. Celery really is the secret ingredient, it makes a lobster roll a great lobster roll. I always add the fine sharpness of finely diced shallots for little flecks of freshness amidst the more eggy & mustard-sharp mayonnaise I use. Hope you’ll try the little twists in your next lobster bonanza and tell. Serious envy here that you are just a subway ride away from lobster nirvana. N xo

  3. I don’t think anyone (even a Mainer) could complain about the improvements you’ve made! Lobster rolls are so delicious, aren’t they? Even when on a crappy bought hot dog bun, as long as you’re right by where they were brought in from the sea…

    • Thank you Michelle, I was a bit worried about the Maine approval. Eating a lobster roll by the sea, how wonderful is that, hearing the crashing of the waves, digging your toes into the sand. Eating one at home, I can even hear and smell the sea right here on my balcony with a view of the Hessian countryside. 😉 N

  4. Oh wie lecker. So ein süßliches Brötchen (kann ich kaum mehr schreiben, schließlich essen wir in Bayern ja Semmeln) dazu – wir kriege ich das nur JETZT sofort auf meinen Teller?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s