Thursday, May 1, 2014

Lobster Roll

Aww yeah, baby, da-na, da-na, da-na, rock lobstah! I am so freakin' excited about today's post, man. I am over the moon because lobster rolls are one of my favorite sandwiches. I made this recipe about a month ago but I had so many posts queued up that it's only being shared now. That's okay though. It's the first of May and I feel like it's an appropriate time to share this post. Lobster rolls represent the start of summery weather and warmth so that's kind of perfect, right?

I've had plenty of delicious lobster rolls in the past. I've been to Luke's Lobster and I tried a lobster roll at the Williamsburg Flea from the Red Hook Lobster Pound last year. The lobster rolls of my past have been delicious but the Red Hook Lobster Pound uses mayo and Luke's Lobster doesn't have any veggies in their lobster salad. If you know me and you've been reading my blog for a while, you know I'm not a fan of mayo but I am a huge fan of veggies. My lobster roll recipe contains no mayo but it's still creamy and it's got some good crunch from some veggies and it's crazy delicious and awesome; at least I think so.
Ingredients:
butter poached lobster
1¼ to 1½ lb. lobster
1 tablespoon water
6 tablespoons butter, cut into small chunks

lobster roll [yields 2 sandwiches]
1 butter poached lobster
+ 2 tablespoons poaching butter
2 buns (I used my homemade buns - I shared them yesterday)
¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
¼ cup diced celery
2 tablespoons diced sweet onion
½ teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced tarragon or torn tarragon leaves
salt & pepper to taste

Let me start by explaining how to butter poach a lobster. I've shared the directions for butter poached lobster before but these are prettier photos. If you're a vegan or a vegetarian or squeamish about shellfish or the process of cooking lobster, you have two choices. Click out of this blog post or scroll down quickly to skip the "gruesome" bit.


Start by boiling a big pot of water. Snip the rubberbands off of the lobster claws and then plop your lobster into the pot, close the lid, and leave it be for 3 minutes exactly. You want to cook the lobster just long enough to allow you to be able to remove the meat from the shell. After 3 minutes, plop the lobster into an ice bath or give him a cold shower under running water to stop the cooking process. I have to be completely honest with you; my heart was pounding when I was doing all of this. I was a combination of emotions. I was scared, I was worried, I was freaking out about killing the lobster but I did it.
Remove the lobster meat from the shell. I like to use sharp kitchen shears but if you're a fan of using mallets or shell crackers, be my guest. At this point, the lobster is only par-cooked.
Next up, the beurre monté, which is a French technique for making an emulsified butter. Usually when you melt butter, the solid fats sort of separate and there's a white foam settled on top of the butter. This technique prevents that separation and leaves you with a lovely yellow butter sauce.
Add a little water to a small saucepan and heat over a low flame and bring it to a simmer. Add in cold butter, one small piece at a time, letting each piece melt before adding in the next. Keep going until all of the butter is added in and you have a lovely yellow sauce.
Add the lobster meat to the beurre monté and let the lobster poach for 5 to 7 minutes. Use a spoon to pour butter over the tops of the lobster and turn the meat over once in a while to ensure even cooking.
Now, let's assemble the lobster rolls! Like I said, this recipe is mayo-free but if you're not a fan of Greek yogurt and you'd prefer mayo instead, then go for it.
Dice up the celery and onions and mince the garlic. Chop up the lobster into big, chunky pieces.
In a bowl, combine the onions, celery, garlic, tarragon leaves, lemon juice, lobster, yogurt, salt, and pepper. Tarragon really complements the flavor of the lobster nicely. It's got this fresh, minty, basil-y, lemony flavor that just goes amazingly well with seafood.
Mix it all together to evenly distribute the ingredients. Perfect. It looks a little sloppy and messy but that's what we want.
Split open your rolls and brush the insides with some of the poaching butter and stick them in the toaster to get just a bit of color on them. My rolls were freshly baked so I just popped them in the oven long enough to get them warm again.
Shovel a good amount of the lobster salad into the buns and serve. Be careful with your hands as you bring this to the table; you might get bitten.
Sprinkle with a little paprika for color and flair and tuck in, man. Just go for it. I personally love the flavor that the Greek yogurt adds to the salad. It's a bit tangy, it's creamy, and it's rich but not at all heavy. Then, there's the crunchy celery and sweet onion and the anise-y tarragon that come together so nicely. And, of course, the lobster is perfectly tender, thanks to the cooking method. Plus, to top it off, these were served on homemade buns, which made them all the more exciting to eat. Hm, I wonder how many more times I can mention that I made the buns myself.

By the way, if you're on a low-carb thing or you can't eat gluten, you could plop the lobster salad right on top of a pile of greens and that would be superb.
Now, do I share this second roll or do I scarf it down myself? What would you do? I think it's all right to be shellfish and keep these all to yourself.
Here are the recipe pages:

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