My New England Lobster Roll has quite a story…
Two winters back, we had S’s friend visiting a city around here for business. He and S have been close buddies, but hadn’t seen each other since 7 years. So, we all planned and set out to meet him on a Friday. Because the friend was flying back to India the coming Monday morning, idea was to pick him up and drive to a tourist spot. That way, while the two friends could catch up, it shall also be a nice weekend getaway from our otherwise mundane everyday routines. Being the road trip maniacs my Mr. Man and I are, we wanted to visit a neighboring state we haven’t been before. Rhode Island it was.
S and his friend met, hugged, chatted for a bit and we all set out for our destination city happily. When we finally arrived, we weren’t as charmed. Providence is a rather old town, lacking much glitter and glory if you will, and thus ceased to impress any of us. S frowned hard at me in disappointment. I had elected that city, and an exhaustive 5 hour drive to a place like that wasn’t any rewarding after all. The town was unexpectedly overrated in the google pages. Moreover, S was in no mood to have his friend visit US, go around a few quiet areas in a not so glorious city and get back to India. S quickly decided, that we go up further to the White Mountains in New Hampshire.
Before I could react, we had our dinners packed to go and we were all en route the mountains. Adding it all up, it urned out to be an stressful car ride, steering through 5 american states. A couple tall glasses of coffee, and some crazily insane latest Bollywood songs kept the driver and his co-driver in their senses, during the drive. The children were amazingly patient and did their best to cooperate. By the time we reached out hotel rooms, it was wee hours of the morning. Our bodies fell heavy and dead on the bed. In no time, we were deep into the realm of our surreal world for the next several hours.
We woke up to the Saturday afternoon and rushed out to finish a quick tour of the mountains. That was the only day we had to us. We were to return back that night. The problem was, it was still March the mountains were thickly snow laden. Mount Washington was closed for the season. All I had on hand was a map of the northern and southern loop of the mountains and a snowy scenic driveway to follow. All National Parks in the US that are woods, forests, mountains and desserts, would have the gps “out of order” due to messed up or nil satellite signals. It’s weird and fun at the same time, and follow the age-old drive with a map concept.The friend grew quite anxious by now. He’s been into the car since ever, and hasn’t still been to one “famous tourist spot”. Halfway through we spotted some information boards that said “MAINE”, and we realized that we took a wrong turn on one of the crossroads and were now in a different state! Just as our good ol’ friend was gearing up and was about to express how badly he wanted to jump out of the car to breathe peace…S exclaimed in joy that it’s been a landmark trip. “Did you realize we just drove you across the 6th state in 2 days? You can go back and tell your friends and family that you had visited 6 states in 2 days!” The friend wasn’t particularly amused and didn’t buy it all. And I don’t remember if I smiled or had my palm on my face. Probably S was too tired driving all since 2 days? It happens, I had heard. You’re tentatively off the mind when you’re too stressed out. Probably.
It was already early evening by then, when our car was still roaming aimlessly around the streets of Maine with the can’t-sit-on-this-seat-anymore friend, an over exhausted and hungry driver, 2 half-sleepy-half-cranky kids and one I-should-blow-off-some-steam-now wife looking out of the car window still uselessly holding the New Hampshire mountains map!
In a jiffy to make some sense of all the unnecessary driving the previous day and getting lost into a new state for no reason, I started looking for a good local restaurant to stop for early dinner. I found one. A small happy seafood place. Travel vexation made us eat more. We ordered fried calamaris, seafood pasta, a large shrimp platter and 5 generous Lobster Rolls. They were served with fries and melted butter by the side. We absolutely loved the rolls, and licked clean our fingers too.
By way of my habit, I asked the waitress about the rolls. She tells me that though they are signature dish of the New England states, Connecticut and Maine natives love their rolls in slightly differently…and each claim theirs to be superior in taste than the other! Connecticut Lobster rolls have the meat slathered with mayo then stuffed in buttered bread. While in Maine, they prefer the lobster meat buttered, then sandwiched between buttered rolls, and served with more melted butter on the side. Wow…it’s like taking a holy dip in butter! The lady waitress was too kind to explain me how they do their rolls at the restaurant. They undoubtedly made super delicious ones for us.
All’s well that end well. And for Bangalis, a happy-full tummy washes away all the woes there may have been until an hour before! We then drove all the way back from where we started it all. At home, I spoke about these Lobster rolls to a good friend and American Neighbor. Turned out, he was a New Englander from Massachusetts. He explained why Lobsters were the easiest seafood to make and how. I made them once. Then twice. Followed by many more times. The version we loved most was the best of both worlds…CT and ME. I treated my lobster meat with mayo and stuffed them in buttered rolls, served with more butter on the side to dip!
Owing to the severe contact allergy I get from shellfish shells, I’ve always used pre-cut or slit Lobster tails. I boil them briefly, then scoop out the meat from the slit using a fork. It’s that easy-peasy for me! However, a true Lobster-aficionado will tell you that the most delicious and succulent meat comes out from the Lobster claws and knuckles. For that, buy live lobsters (if you have the heart!), throw them in boiling water and blanch till shells are deep red and meat is done. The shell joints are then twisted open, cracked and the meat pulled out. I have never used frozen Lobsters from the market so far, but they can very well be used for this purpose too.
A little anecdote from the internet→ Together, 6 northeastern states in USA comprise what is known as New England. And Lobster Roll is the region’s most iconic food. This sandwich originated in a restaurant called Perry’s in Milford, state of Connecticut. They first began serving the famous Lobster rolls in 1929. Also, When served warm, these are Lobster rolls. When cold, they’re called Lobster salad roll.
Make them soon…you’ve no idea what you missed, until you do. Leave me a comment to let me know how you liked them 🙂
Makes 1 large to 2 regular Lobster rolls
- 2 cracked lobster tail, shell on (about 200 gms)
- About 2 tbsp Mayonnaise
- 0.5 tbsp fresh chives, shredded
- 2 New England style dinner rolls, or top-split hotdog buns
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Lime juice to taste
- Melted butter, as needed
- Bring about 2 liters of water with 1.5 tsp salt, in a Dutch oven to rolling boil (over high heat). Carefully drop the two lobster tails and switch heat to medium heat. Simmer cook for 10 to 12 minutes or till the tail is bright red, and meat is soft to a fork prick test. Take off from heat.
- Let the lobster tails cool down a bit. Scoop out the meat into a mixing bowl and discard the shell. Slice the lobster meat into 1.5 to 2 inch big chunks.
- Add mayo, shredded chives, salt and fresh ground pepper plus lime juice to the lobster meat. Mix
- On a heated pan, toast both outer faces of the bread/dinner rolls till golden brown and crisp.
- Stuff the bread with lobster meat mix. Serve immediately with some French fries and seasoned melted butter on the side to dip.
- You may substitute chives with your favorite fresh herbs.
- Serve the rolls warm or cold.
- I could not get the New England style top split dinner rolls the day I made and clicked this picture. Though only one neighborhood store sells them…if you aren’t in New England, chances are you’d probably not find them being sold in your place. Use a Challa bread (like how I did), cut out a very thick slice (about 2 inches thick) and slit open partially from the top (as in the picture). Toast with butter on both faces till brown-golden, stuff the prepared lobster meat, then serve.
- Owing to the severe contact allergy I get from shellfish shells, I’ve always used pre-cut or slit Lobster tails. I boil them briefly, then scoop out the meat from the slit using a fork. It’s that easy-peasy for me! However, Lobster-lovers will tell you that the most delicious and succulent meat comes out from the Lobster claws and knuckles. For that, buy live lobsters (if you have the heart!), throw them in boiling water and blanch till shells are deep red and meat is done. The shell joints are then twisted open, cracked and the meat pulled out. I have never used frozen Lobsters from the market so far, but they can very well be used for this purpose too.