Nothing evokes memories of summer by the shore stronger than a rich, sweet lobster roll. Even if you’re not traveling to New England, you can still recreate the experience at home — the key is to source the best meat and use a light hand.
We talked to Jessica Lin, Brand Manager at Luke’s Lobster, to find out how to make seafood shack-quality lobster rolls at home. Luke’s is known for its purist approach to seafood, and the chain has brought its concept to a number of locations in New England. Read on for her tips!
Seek out real Maine lobster. “Finding Maine lobster is key,” says Jessica. “There’s a misconception that live lobster is the freshest, but once the lobster comes out of the water and transported to different cities, it may not be as fresh as possible.” It’s fine to use lobster that’s already cooked.
Use knuckle and claw meat. Luke’s makes each roll with a quarter-pound of knuckle and claw meat — no tail meat. “The tail meat is tougher, and we try to keep them really tender,” explains Jessica.
Cook the meat gently. If you are cooking the lobster, be sure you don’t overcook it. “Poach it in a little salt water for 10 minutes or so,” Jessica advises. “The water should be just simmering, but not boiling.”
Go easy on the mayo. The secret to a great lobster roll is the taste of the meat, not the fillers. Dress the meat with just a tiny bit of mayonnaise, lemon butter (juice from half a lemon plus a stick of melted butter) and seafood spice (a mix of garlic, celery salt and oregano). “Try to keep it as true to the seafood as possible.”
Toast the bun. “I use a cast-iron pan to toast the bun, because I like the texture it creates on the outside,” says Jessica. Put a pat of butter in the pan and spread it evenly so the surface of the bun will have an even char. You want it to be soft on the inside, but toasted and golden on the outside. (Tip: if you can’t find true split-top buns, just cut the sides off a hot dog bun.)
Serve classic sides. At Luke’s, lobster rolls are served with potato chips and a pickle. Slaw is a must, too — just make sure that, like the lobster, it’s light on the mayo and more tangy than creamy.
Hungry yet? Try our recipe here!