Thursday, July 17, 2014

Lobster Rolls – a quintessential summer favorite

Lobster rolls are a quintessential favorite and they always remind me of trips to Maine, where lobsters are plentiful in the summer. Now most good supermarkets and seafood stores carry live Maine lobsters, making them readily available everywhere.

As in the case of many sandwiches, you don’t need a recipe. All you need is cooked lobster meat, good mayonnaise, preferably homemade, some finely chopped celery for crunch, a bit paprika or cayenne for spice, fresh lemon juice, salt, pepper, and tarragon, chives or parsley for a nice fresh herby flavor, buttered hot dog roll and you’re in business.

Some people are squeamish about handling a live lobster and understandably so. I’m fortunate my husband was willing to plunge him in the boiling water for me. Here’s a link to excellent instructions on how to cook Maine lobsters from the Maine Lobster Marketing Cooperative. Just for fun, we also included spiny lobsters in our sandwich because they were the lobsters of choice when we lived in the Bahamas. Here’s a link on how to cook spiny lobster tails.

If you follow the instructions below from The Summer House Cookbook on how to remove the meat from Maine lobsters, you’ll be all set.

Here’s an outline for how we made our lobsters rolls, yielding 4 sandwiches. We started making the lobster salad by placing picked over meat from 2 (1 ¼ pound) cooked Maine lobsters and also included the meat from 2 (6 ounce) cooked spiny lobsters in a large bowl. Set the salad aside while you make the dressing. If desired, it can be made ahead several hours and kept covered in the refrigerator.

For the dressing, in a bowl we combined about a 2 to 3 tablespoons of homemade mayonnaise or good quality store-bought mayonnaise such as Hellman’s, (some people like more mayonnaise so use your own discretion), a rib or two if they are small of finely chopped celery, some chopped fresh tarragon or chives, a good squirt (a couple of teaspoons) of fresh lemon juice, a shake or two of sweet paprika, and a pinch of cayenne if desired if you like a bit of spice, then season with kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mix well and taste for seasonings, then carefully fold some of the flavored mayonnaise into the chunks of cooked lobster. Taste again and correct as necessary with more mayonnaise or seasonings. You want the flavored mayonnaise to moisten the lobster without overwhelming it.

To assemble the sandwich, toast 4 hot dog rolls (split top if you can find them) until they are golden brown, taking care not to let them burn. Brush with melted butter, divide the lobster salad equally among each roll and serve at once. We like chips and a pickle on the side.

For more precise recipes, check out these links - Martha Stewart, Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, and Fine Cooking. You'll notice that the proportions of lobster to mayonnaise vary quite a bit, so it really all comes down to a matter of taste.

If there’s a secret to great lobster rolls, I would say it’s to use homemade mayonnaise. Mayonnaise is one of the best tasting things you’ll ever make at home and so much better than store-bought. It can elevate a simple sandwich from ordinary to sublime.

When I was growing up, my mother made her own mayonnaise and there was always a jar in our refrigerator.  She used a hand-held mixer, dripping the oil in very slowly until the eggs and oil came together to form an emulsion. It was a tedious project. Now thanks to the food processor, mayonnaise is very easy to make, utilizing that tiny hole in the feed tube to do the dribbling for you, making your job a whole lot easier. Below is Julia Child’s food processor mayonnaise and it is a snap to put together.

The best tip for making homemade mayonnaise is to have all of the ingredients at room temperature and use very fresh eggs. As with anything made with raw eggs, caution should be taken not to leave it out too long or it will spoil.

Julia Child’s Food Processor Mayonnaise
Printable Recipe

1 whole egg, at room temperature
2 egg yolks, at room temperature
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, at room temperature
½ teaspoons kosher salt
¼ to ½ teaspoon sugar
Dash of Tabasco sauce, or other hot sauce
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cups fine fresh oil such canola, safflower, extra-virgin olive oil, or a combination, at room temperature

Using the metal blade in the food processor, process the egg, the egg yolks, mustard, salt, sugar, and Tabasco 30 seconds. Add lemon juice and process 30 seconds more.

In a very thin stream, pour in the oil, using droplets at a time. In a food processor there is a tiny hole in the lid that will allow the oil to drop in very slowly. As the mayonnaise comes together, you can pour the oil a little faster. When all of the oil is gone, remove the processor cover and check for consistency and taste for seasonings. You may wish to add more lemon juice, kosher salt, or freshly ground white pepper. Driblets of cold water added now make a milder and lighter taste and texture. Store the mayonnaise, covered, in the refrigerator for about a week.

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

This will be shared with Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farm, Miz Helen’s Country Kitchen Full Plate Thursday, Foodie Friday at Simple Recipes and Food on Friday at Carole's Chatter.     
Have a great weekend everyone.


  1. Oh, I'd love to eat this sandwich! Your lobster roll looks ecer so good.



  2. Your lobster roll looks delicious! It has just the right amount of mayonnaise. I love that you added tarragon. I just saw a chef on TV that Ina was interviewing make mayonnaise using a poached egg for those leery of using a raw egg. I have not tried it.

  3. I could just take one now..if I may?
    The best one I ever had..and I must confess to not having had many.. was in Ogunquit..Marginal Way..Overlooking the ocean.. sometimes the feeling of the place..adds to the taste..what am I saying?..More than sometimes..
    On a side note we had your pork last night with the blueberry/peach salsa..
    I loved the freshness of the salsa..on the grilled pork..and it's beautiful when you are prepping the salsa..the colors are gorgeous.
    It's one of those recipes..that although there are a few things in the salsa..I bet I could make it in a week..with no recipe:) they just all make sense together ..nothing far fetched..and I will!
    Thank you Sam.

  4. This looks better than some lobster rolls we had in Maine. Perfect presentation.

  5. I have been dreaming about these for ages. If I didn't have a bad cold, I would race to the market to buy some lobsters. Don't laugh, but my daughter doesn't like buying them at the supermarket ...she says they look sad. So we don't buy them. We do have a guy nearby who gets them from Maine. I so miss living by the sea.

    I agree, make homemade mayo, it is so easy these days with the food processor. Thanks for reminding me of that Julia Child's recipe. It's terrific.

  6. This is so gorgeous - and one of my favorite summer treats. Live lobster is still hard to come by in MN. You can go into Minneapolis and get it for the price of mortgaging your home! I will do this with lobster tails (and then I don't have to be the lobster-killer!) Love the homemade mayo!

  7. Oh my goodness does this look good. I never have made mayo cause I am one of those people who do not like raw eggs. I do wonder how it would come out like the lady above said using poached eggs. I will have to try it. Now I will have to go buy some lobsters and try this out. YUMMY!!!

  8. Beautiful photos of a delectable sandwich, Sam! I could eat a lobster roll every day and never tire of it!

  9. Years ago we camped in Maine and would go buy freshly cooked lobster. It was so good. I have never made a lobster roll but should try this recip.

  10. Sam, Did I ever mention that lobster rolls are Laurie's favorite food! Our favorite lobster roll ever was at a restaurant in Newport Rhode Island... Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

  11. Wow, that sure is a pretty sandwich Sam! I love all the beautiful colors-enjoy:@)

  12. In spite of having just consumed a delicious chicken, BLT three decker club sandwich (with homemade mayo,) I have serious food envy.

  13. wow Now that's a sandwich! I would love to have one too.

  14. oh i haven't had one of these in so so long. I wish I had one right now and i wish it was yours that I had. It looks amazing and i love that you didn't use storebought mayo

  15. brings back fond memories of new england

  16. Your lobster roll looks fantastic Sam. I had one in Portland, ME and it was basically lobster with butter and perhaps a very little mayo - I think this is the kind the purist eat but I know I would like yours much better.

  17. Love, love, love, Sam! Yours looks better than any I had in Maine.

  18. sigh, lobster smothered in homemade mayo, doesn't get any better than that!

  19. I'm entranced by your and mouthwatering descriptions. Can't wait to make this!

  20. What a detailed tutorial on making lobster rolls Sam. Thanks for taking the time to take the mystic out of the process. Your lobster rolls look perfect and I agree that homemade mayonnaise is best.

  21. Much as we love lobster, I've never made lobster rolls. But that will change on Wednesday. Yum.

  22. We have a nice restaurant in town that has lobster rolls on the menu and I order one every time we go there. I love them! I've been watching for split top hot dog buns to try making them at home but I still haven't come across any. I'd probably be chicken and buy the lobster already cooked. There's a fish market here that will do that for you. Your lobster roll has me drooling, Sam!

  23. I've had exactly one Lobster roll in my entire life and loved every bite. And I've always said, if I had to kill my own food I'd be a vegetarian. If I ever make that big decision, I'll have to fly Meakin in to take care of that little critter :)

  24. Hi Sam,
    Oh take me back to Maine please, I can just taste the Lobster Roll and smell the sea air. I love your recipe and the tutorial for cooking the Lobster. Your recipe for the homemade Mayo is the best, of course!

    Thanks for sharing with Full Plate Thursday, I always look forward to your visits!
    Come Back Soon,
    Miz Helen

  25. Oh, those look so good! I don't think I've ever had homemade mayo - I know for sure I've never made it!

  26. Looks wonderful! I'm starving now :-)

  27. Lobster was once my favorite shellfish to eat, but alas, now that I've developed the allergy, I can only enjoy the home-made mayonnaise recipe that you provided in this post and shared, Sam. Thank you,

  28. Oh yummy yummy I am on my way over to try this out :-) Hope al is well Diane

  29. I am sure these lobster rolls are delicious and the photos are outstanding. The colors are great, the presentation, you do have a wonderful photographer who execute totally professional culinary photos – just to look at the photos and the salivary glands start working!

  30. Hi Sam, oh this looks so delicious! very impressive making your own mayo.

  31. What a treat that would be. We have wonderful seafood here on the West coast but, alas, no lobster. My mouth waters just looking at that scrumptious roll.

  32. This looks absolutely wonderful! blessings, Catherine

  33. I grew up on the coast and enjoy lobster tremendously. Everytime we visit my mom my daughter orders a whole lobster.. so it must be in the genes. Love your salad. PInned it.


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