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How to Make Your Own Lobster Roll

Get as many lobsters as you can afford.
Get as many lobsters as you can afford.
Photo by Joanna O'Leary

In January of this year my grandmother, Margaret Berkeley O'Leary, passed away at the venerable age of 100. As per my wont, I've been processing my grief for my grandmother through food and cooking, remembering and recreating the dishes she enjoyed. Gramma particularly loved lobster rolls (the main course at her last birthday party), so when I got a craving for one last week I decided to make my own rather than take the easy way out and go to Mainely Sandwiches.

Making your own lobster roll at home can be more or less time-consuming depending on whether you boil your own lobster or wimp out like I did and buy some surprisingly affordable pre-cooked lobsters from Kroger.

In either case, what is most important is to extract as much meat as possible from the craggy shells of the crustacean.

Sometimes buying pre-cooked is less expensive and time-consuming than boiling your own.
Sometimes buying pre-cooked is less expensive and time-consuming than boiling your own.
Photo by Joanna O'Leary

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Use sizable chunks of lobstah meat.
Use sizable chunks of lobstah meat.
Photo by Joanna O'Leary

Slice the meat (especially from the tail) into relatively uniform sizable chunks. Remember, you're making a lobster roll, not a tuna fish sandwich, so do not shred the flesh.

"Traditional" dressing for a lobster roll varies from region to region in the Northeast, with some asserting all that is needed is the faintest trace of mayonnaise and a spritz of lemon. I prefer a slightly more ornate sauce for my lobster roll that involves green onions, lemon juice, tarragon, and mayo, with proportions similar to this recipe.

Once you've dressed your crustacean meat, stick it in the fridge for about 20-30 minutes (or however long it takes you to prepare your roll).

Gaze for two seconds...then devour.
Gaze for two seconds...then devour.
Photo by Joanna O'Leary

Purists, shield your eyes: I like a barely browned roll when it's really, really hot outside, for something about the idea of hot bread in conjunction with cool seafood makes me gag. When it's not 100 degrees outside, and say, a lovely 82-degree Maine evening, I readily acknowledge the merits of a fully toasted, buttered bun.

Pair with a frosty sauvignon blanc, or if you're Gramma O'Leary, a snifter of Irish Mist.


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