The first time I was introduced to a live lobster, I was about 10 years old and was having a “fancy” dinner with my family at the Whaling Station in Monterey, California. Our waiter brought my sisters and me, over to the lobster tank, and let each of us pick out our favorite. Of course, I went for the biggest one. Before showing the lobsters to their fate, our waiter brought Charlie, the loving name he gave my lobster, over to our table so we could properly meet. We giggled with glee. Moments later Charlie arrived on a platter with melted butter, and a few parsley sprigs as garnish. I remember taking the first fleshy piece of white meat, rolling it into the butter, and bringing it to my lips; butter dripping down my chin, back onto the platter. Savoring that nugget in my chubby little cheeks, and letting it slide down my throat, smiling after every bite. I fell in love with Charlie at that moment.
I visit Boston at least once or twice a year with Lenny. You are probably assuming that I have had my fair share of lobster by now. Well, I did not get to experience my first lobster roll until last winter. I have had Neptune Oyster on my Boston to-do-list, but we never seem to have time to make a trip there. Last winter, I decided it was time, and if I had to go alone, I would go alone. One snowy afternoon, we bundled up, and headed into the North end, where we bellied up to a table, nestled between eager eaters from all the world. We all had one thing in common, the love of good lobster.
Upon the suggestion of our waiter, we went with one hot and buttered lobster roll and one cold with mayo. It was like I was 10 years old again, sitting on the edge of my seat, smiling ear-to-ear, and eagerly waiting for the prized meal to arrive at our table. Moments later, two platters with carefully placed hot-dog buns, full of freshly caught lobster, crispy french fries and a few sprigs of parsley as garnish arrived. As I lifted the lobster roll to my parted lips, I could still smell the salty sea, and taste the hot, buttery bun melt into the creamy lobster mixture; I suddenly felt that childhood memory wrap itself around me. Every bite took me back to that place when that 10-year-old girl fell in love with Charlie.
I cannot find lobster rolls on the West coast, so when I get that itch, I make them at home. There are a lot of recipes out there, with the addition of everything from pickles to cucumbers. I like to keep it simple, focused on the main star of the recipe. I have tweaked the recipe a bit, by adding fresh jalapenos, to add a spicy bite. As well, I use homemade mayo. Don’t be intimated, the recipe is just as good with store bought mayo. I like to use a live lobster, but have used frozen lobster tails, when I am in a pinch; both types are as equally delicious. This recipe is lighter than most recipes, which I think lets the creamy texture of the lobster really stand out.
Lobster Roll – cold with mayo
- 1 – 1-1/2 pound live lobster (a frozen tail works as well)
- 1 lemon, cut into quarters
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 jalapeno, seeds removed, minced
- 1 celery stalk, minced
- 3 green onions, minced
- 1/8 cup mayo
- 1/4 fresh lemon, juiced
- Salt for sprinkling
- 4 hot dog buns
Fill a large stock pot with hot water, add the quartered lemon and bring to a boil over high heat. Plunge the live lobster into the boiling water, cover with a lid, and lower the heat to a simmer. Simmer until bright red, 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, and immediately plunge into a sink full of very cold water. Let set for 2 minutes. Remove from the cold water, set in a colander, and let drain 30 minutes. While the lobster is cooking and cooling, prepare the rest of your ingredients. Once the lobster has drained remove the shell, and chop the meat into medium size chunks. Remove as much as the white, firm flesh from the body of the lobster as well; don’t waste these sweet morsels.In a medium bowl, gently fold the lobster together with the rest of the ingredients; except the hot dog buns and butter. Put the mixture into the refrigerator for 30 minutes, until chilled. Before serving, butter the buns, and gently toast over a hot grill or a pan grill on the stove. Fill the buns with the lobster mixture. Serve. Eat.
All photos styled and taken by Denise Woodward.
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