Last year, I decided to start a new Wilson Family Holiday Tradition – Lobster Rolls for Christmas Day dinner. This year I’m moving them to New Year’s Eve. I first discovered the greatest sandwich EVER, the lobster roll, when we vacationed in Maine several years ago. Lobster rolls are typically composed of chunks of lobster in a light mayonnaise dressing in a buttery toasted split top hotdog bun, typically Pepperidge Farm brand.
Miss G’s attending college in Boston has facilitated my lobster roll addiction. I am now on a quest to find Boston’s greatest Lobster Roll. My problem is I like them all and can’t decide which I like best. The following all have provided me with a starting point with their opinions of Boston’s best: Boston Eater, Boston Magazine, Thrillist, Boston A-list, Boston.com, Gourmet (from 2008), chow hound. Oh, and I’ve just found my new hero, Lobster Gal, who’s quest is to sample every lobster roll in New England. One thing I have discovered is to not rule out a lobster roll based on its location. For instance, I liked my lunchtime $12.95 very meaty lobster roll at the Boston Hot Dog Company in Salem better than the $25 lobster roll at Island Creek Oyster Bar I had later that night. Of course, Island Creek won hands down for ambience.
So far, I have enjoyed and devoured lobster rolls at:
- B & G Oysters
- Boston & Maine Fish Co. (in Faneuil Hall)
- Boston Hot Dog Company
- Island Creek Oyster Bar
- Jasper White’s Summer Shack
- Legal Seafood (various locations) – I eat here a lot as they have a location near Harvard Square and in the airport….always consistently good
- Neptune Oyster -this may be my favorite – two choices of lobster roll here – cold with mayo or warm with melted butter…tiny, adorable location in north end….no reservations, so get here early
- Yankee Lobster – good, but a little on the small side
I still need to get to:
- Alive and Kicking (not for lack of trying – they close very early)
- Atlantic Fish Company
- Belle Isle Seafood
- James Hook & Co.
- Kelly’s Roast Beef
- Row 34
My lobster tail recipe calls for cooked lobster meat. So, keep in mind:
- 5/6 oz. tail = 1.25- 1.5 pound live lobster = 4 oz. meat = 1 serving
- (4-6) 1.25 pound lobsters = 1 pound meat
- 1 pound meat = 2 cups
A great source for cooking lobster, fresh or frozen comes from lobstergram.com. Also, Pepperidge farms split top hot dog buns are not to be found in my corner of the world. Not to worry, though, King Arthur Flour sells a New England Hotdog Bun Pan, so I was able to make my own buns.
Yield: 4 servings
- 1 1/2 pounds (3 cups) lobster meat, cooked and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1/2 cup best foods mayonnaise
- 3 T. lemon juice
- 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 New England style split top hot dog buns (pepperidge farms or homemade)
- Mix lobster, mayo, lemon juice, and celery in a bowl; season with salt and pepper.
- Heat a large skillet of medium heat. Brush flat sides of buns with melted butter. Cook until golden, about 2 minutes per side; fill with lobster mixture.
New England Hotdog Buns
adapted from King Arthur Flour
Yield: 10 buns
- 3 cups flour
- 2 t. instant yeast
- 2 T. sugar or non-diastatic malt powder
- 1/4 cup potato flour or 2/3 cup instant mashed potato flakes
- 2 T. King Arther Cake enhancer, optional (I did not add this)
- 1 1/2 t. salt
- 2 T. soft butter
- 1 large egg
- Mix and knead together all of the ingredients (using 1 cup of the water) to make a shiny, elastic dough; about 10 minutes by hand, 5 minutes or more by mixer. Add additional water as needed.
- Let dough (covered with a cloth) rise in lightly greased bowl for 1 to 2 hours – it should be puffy.
- Gently deflate the dough and stretch it until it is about 15 inches long and 6 inches wide. Place the dough in you lightly greased New England hotdog bun pan, stretching it to the edges as best you can.
- Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the dough rest 15 minutes. Remove the wrap and push the dough all the way into the corners of the pan, leveling the top surface as best you can. Recover the pan.
- Let the buns rise for 45 to 60 minutes, until they’ve come to within 1/2 inch of the rim of the pan. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Place a greased baking sheet on top of the risen buns. Put the covered buns in the oven, weighing down the baking sheet with something oven-safe (i.e. cast iron pan), and bake the buns for 18 minutes. Remove the baking sheet and bake a few minutes longer if necessary to brown the rolls. Remove from oven.
- Cool the pan on a rack for 5 minutes. Turn the buns out of the pan onto a rack to finish cooling- make sure the top (rounded) side is up.
- When completely cool, slice each bun down the middle vertically, without cutting through the bottom; then separate into individual buns.