Classic Maine Lobster Rolls: Kennebunkport’s hottest (and most hotly debated) food

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This recipe and article comes to us from Barbara Gulino: media spokesperson, guest chef on Portland Maine’s WCSH6 and food blogger. Barbara blogs at The Spirited Cook and will be sharing her inside scoop on recipes  for TABLE that are perfect for summer living in Maine.

 

When I first moved to Maine many years ago, Brooklyn girl that I was, I thought a lobster roll was a Chinese egg roll made with lobster instead of shrimp.

Clearly, I have come a long way in 29 years.

A true Maine lobster roll is a celebration of summer, and not meant to compete with too many other ingredients.  This is where many a cook has strayed—adding an assortment of things, in various shades of green and otherwise – aromatic herbs, shredded lettuce, olives, capers, and even more horrifyingly, stuff like chipotles and mango, all in the vein of making it better, missing the point that a lobster roll is all about the lobster and nothing else.

Perhaps a small amount of finely chopped celery is okay. This addition is hotly debated amongst lobster roll purists.

Buttered buns lobster rolls Lobster Rolls The final product recipes table maine Kennebunkport Resort Collection

A few chives on top can add contrast (if you need to get all fancy-like), but steer clear of the shredded lettuce route. It is disappointing to find lettuce lurking under the lobster in the roll. It is used to make the roll look fuller than it actually is. A little bit of mayonnaise is required to bind the lobster together. My favorite is Stonewall Kitchen’s Farmhouse Mayo – flavorful and seasoned with enough salt that I find I don’t need to add more.

Lastly, the griddled New England-style hot dog roll is part of the charm. They were honestly an ingredient I didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to until I discovered the sturdier, larger and made-from-scratch-version baked by Mainly Grains in South Portland.

My lobster roll game is on!  What I really want is a roll that can hold MORE lobster not less.

These rolls only need to be gently sliced apart which reveals their beautiful sides perfect for buttering and griddling resulting in a perfectly crispy-sided warm roll, and piled with lobster.

The best and most efficient time to make lobster rolls is the day after a traditional lobster bake or boiled lobster. Toss a few extra lobsters in to steam, refrigerate overnight, remove the meat and try to keep a few pieces of claw meat intact for an eye-catching garnish, but if you can’t, no big deal.  Slice the tail meat in half length-wise and cut into chunks.

These fat and pudgy rolls allow for a generous ¼-pound portion each.  Serve with sides of coleslaw and potato chips and hopefully a dose of sunshine.

This is, (I am quite certain) “The Way a Lobster Roll Should Be.”

Barbara Gulino blogs about food, travel and life in Maine and New Hampshire at SpiritedCook.com. All Text, Photos and Recipe By Barbara Gulino.

 

Classic Maine Lobster Rolls: Kennebunkport’s hottest (and most hotly debated) food
Classic Maine Lobster Rolls
The classic Maine lobster roll is easy to replicate at home once you know how. How many rolls you can make from this recipe will depend on the size of the roll -- but plan on 3 to 4.
Classic Maine Lobster Rolls
The classic Maine lobster roll is easy to replicate at home once you know how. How many rolls you can make from this recipe will depend on the size of the roll -- but plan on 3 to 4.
Servings
4servings
Servings
4servings
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, lightly combine the lobster, celery, mayonnaise, and lemon juice. Taste first, seasoning with salt only if necessary and lightly with pepper. Chill until ready to use, but no more than 8 hours in advance.
  2. When ready to serve, place a griddle or a large non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. Spread both sides of the rolls with the butter and cook each side until golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes per side (check your first roll, I found the bakery rolls browned faster, and it only took slightly more than a minute per side).
  3. Fill and mound each roll with the lobster mixture—they will be quite full. Garnish the top of each with a piece of claw meat, or place a little dollop of mayonnaise on top of each roll and sprinkle it with a smidge of paprika. Serve immediately.
Recipe Notes

Recipe courtesy of Barbara Gulino for the Table Culinary Programs at the Kennebunkport Resort Collection.

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