Lobster says summer. This stylish little variation on the lobster roll is fantastic as an appetizer. It is equally great for a picnic with your favorite potato chips. Just add a chilled bottle of rosé to the basket and you will be toting pure joy.
1 freshly cooked lobster, about 2 lb. total (about 1/2 lb. meat)
2 Tbs. mayonnaise
2 Tbs. crème fraîche
2 Tbs. finely chopped celery
1 Tbs. minced shallot
2 cornichons, finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp. minced fresh tarragon
1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 Tbs. unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 mini brioche rolls, split
1 small head Bibb lettuce
To remove the lobster meat, twist off the claws from the body. Using a lobster cracker or mallet, break the shell on each claw and remove the meat. Using a large, sharp knife, cut the lobster in half lengthwise from the head to the tail. Discard the black vein that runs the length of the body, and discard the small sand sac at the base of the head. Remove the meat from the body and tail. Twist off the small legs where they join the body to check for other chunks of meat. Chop the lobster meat into 1/2-inch pieces.
In a bowl, combine the lobster meat, mayonnaise, crème fraîche, celery, shallot, cornichons, tarragon and lemon zest. Stir gently to blend and season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Heat a large fry pan over medium heat. Butter the cut side of each roll. Place the rolls, buttered side down, in the pan and toast until lightly golden, about 1 minute. Transfer the rolls to a work surface and spoon about 3 Tbs. lobster mixture on the bottom half of each roll. Add a few lettuce leaves. Top with the remaining roll halves, secure with a toothpick if you like and serve immediately. Serves 8.
Variation: You can make an assortment of sandwiches on tiny rolls for a picnic. Somehow their small size makes them more appealing. Other favorites are roast chicken breast with arugula on buns spread with herb butter, and mixed roasted vegetables on buns spread with aioli. You can vary the size, too. Use 4 standard brioche rolls and serve the sliders as a main course for 4.