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Lobster Rolls

I’m a big fan of the lobster roll. I don’t know whether it’s the seductive coating of mayo, or the paradox of stuffing something that decadent into a hotdog bun, or the fact that butter is involved. Whatever it is, I’m all in.

I actually don’t have any formative experience with lobster rolls. I grew up in Maryland; we eat crabs smothered in Old Bay, a state tradition that’s as delicious as it is anticlimactic (so much work, so little reward). Eager to educate my palette, I’ve done my best over the years to garner some lobster roll know-how. There is still much work to be done, but the journey thus far, while financially unsustainable, has proven to be totally worthwhile.

I’ve become so confident in my limited understanding of lobster rolls that I decided to take a stab at making my own. The results were amazing! This is a totally doable recipe, one that will force you to question your belief that you couldn’t possibly make something as indulgent as a lobster roll in your own humble kitchen.

Lobster Roll

A lesson learned: don’t add too much mayonnaise. Stick with a one tablespoon to half a pound of lobster ratio. When it doubt, start with less and slowly add more as necessary. You want to highlight the lobster—to make it the star of the dish—so be mindful not to smother the flavor with mayo.

Consider the vehicle carefully. I bought brioche hotdog buns, because brioche is the lobster of bread. I brushed the buns with butter and broiled them in the oven (you can also throw them on the grill). An equally fine move would be to melt the butter in a pan and give your buns a quick fry.

I added a pinch of cayenne pepper as an ode to my Chesapeake roots; in my unqualified opinion, the cayenne makes the dish. A little celery for crunch, lemon for brightness, and chives for freshness, and you have the makings of perfection.

Lobster Roll

Note: The ingredients in this recipe are measured per roll so that you can easily apply it to however many rolls you want to make.

-half a pound of lobster
-one tablespoon of mayo
-2 tablespoons celery, chopped
-1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of fresh dill, chopped
-splash of fresh lemon juice
-pinch of cayenne pepper
-salt and pepper to taste
-brioche hotdog bun
-1 tablespoon butter, melted

Comb through the lobster meat with your fingers and fish out any shells. In a bowl, mix together the lobster, mayo, celery, dill, lemon juice, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Try not to drool into the bowl. Melt the butter and brush it onto the inside of the hotdog bun. Throw your buns in the oven to broil. Scoop the lobster into the bun and then sit down, because your knees will be weak.

I think what I love most about lobster rolls is that they’re both indulgent and ordinary. It’s a metaphor for how I want to live my life: eating lobster wearing my bathing suit and flip-flops, blurring the lines between ordinary and extraordinary.

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