Got Buttah?  The Lobster Roll Sans Mayo.
July 6th, 2010
10:00 AM ET
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Nothing says summer like the sweet taste of lobster meat and one of the best ways to get your lobster fix is the lobster roll. Personally, I'm afflicted with a rare foodie disorder; I dislike mayonnaise. That, of course, hasn't stopped me from munching lobster rolls in search of the roll less sauced.

I found lobster roll nirvana in Maine, naturally, at the annual lobster festival. This, of course, the lobster mecca and state associated with having borne, bred and perfected the roll. The mayo is so light that it seems to disappear amongst the sweet meat and buttery grilled roll. But for non-residents, Maine is a long way to go for a sandwich, even if it is stuffed with lobster.

So, what's a Brooklyn-based gal to do when most local lobster rolls are sauced with the stuff? Why, head to the Red Hook Lobster Pound (@redhooklobster on Twitter) where they're serving up a Connecticut-style lobster roll. This is the lesser-known version of the New England treat. Instead of a cold lobster salad made with mayo, the meat is grilled, doused with melted butter, topped with a sprinkle of crunchy scallions and dusted with paprika.

So, I headed down to the Lobster Pound to steal the state secrets of proprietors Ralph and Susan, who are crazy about bringing the consumer top quality, super-fresh lobster. Who can argue with that?

At the pound, they're serving up both versions. When I asked Ralph which roll was better he said both were pretty popular. Patrons and partners, Peter and Jill, ordered one of each: the Connecticut for Peter, the Maine for Jill. As to why Peter chose the Connecticut, "It's the butter," he said.

Susan, who grew up summering in Maine, says the roll is, "the lazy man's lobster." But, she is happy to offer it alongside the live lobsters.

When I asked for the recipes, Ralph replied, "Absolutely not." Well, there you have it.

I took some of the lobster meat and top loader buns along with a broad-strokes overview from Susan home and decided to recreate the delicacy on my own. It's pretty easy. The secret is probably that Ralph drives to Maine each week and drives the lobsters home, so they're super fresh and sweet.

But, I think Peter was right; it's all about the butter.

Recipe for Mayo-Free Lobster Rolls

Ingredients for two rolls

8 oz lobster meat

4 tablespoons butter, divided

2 top loader hot dog buns

1 scallion minced

1 teaspoon paprika, divided

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat.

In a separate pan, melt 2 tablespoon of butter over medium heat.

Add lobster meat to one pan of butter and warm through.

Brush melted butter onto sides of buns and grill til golden brown on both sides

Fill toasted buns with lobster meat and douse with remaining melted butter.

Garnish with scallion and paprika.

The traditional accompaniment - a dill pickle. Who knew?

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Filed under: Lobster • Make • Recipes • Shellfish


soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Stan

    Time for props to Chef Rebecca Charles of Pearl Oyster Bar in Greenwich Village who started the national lobster roll trend in the mid 1990s. I'm a Pearl regular and they still make the best roll in NY. The second gens are great but fact is, until Pearl came along the only rolls you found were at the sea shore and, with few exceptions, not all that great. If a male chef had started the trend his name would be Chang.

    July 22, 2010 at 3:00 pm |
  2. Rebecca Billante

    GREAT BLOG- very well written and such a delicious recipe! Can't wait to try it!!

    July 7, 2010 at 8:58 am |
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