In New England, you’ll find two differing schools of how to make a lobster roll: served hot or chilled with potato chips. The former, also called the naked or Connecticut-style lobster roll, is simply fresh chunks of whole lobster on top of a buttered, grilled hotdog bun with fresh, melted cheese. The second version calls for buttery potato chips. The “cheesy” chips are not really cheese, but a mixture of sour cream and grated Parmesan cheese that are typically topped with a little cheese. You can make the roll using either method, it’s really just a matter of preference.
A New England style roll can be garnished with a wedge of lemon or lime, or a wedge of ginger, or even some sliced scallions. On the other hand, the potato chip’s version calls for butter and mayonnaise, or barbecue sauce and hot mustard. Which type of roll you use depends on personal taste and the ingredients available in your local market. The most traditional roll was always made with flour, and the ingredients for which are flour, salt, butter, yeast, and baking soda.
How to Make a Lobster Roll can be as simple or complex as you choose. Traditionally, lobster roll recipes were assembled by a person who formed the roll into a circle, stuffed the center with cheese and herbs, covered the edges of the circle with bread crumbs, dipped the bread crumbs in melted butter, placed the lobster meat in the center, and closed the loop. The ingredients for this roll typically included cream cheese, onions, scallions, and potato chips. However, other versions were constructed quite differently. For instance, one variation used cheese, parsley, and green pepper, while another used eggs and parsley.
When preparing the roll itself, it is important to assemble it right. Starting at one end of the dough, work the layers together to create the desired thickness. Then work the layers towards the center until they join and reach a desired thickness. Once in place, turn the sandwich over and repeat the process, finishing up the layers with a delicious filling. This method produces a wonderfully flavorful and well-liked seafood dish.
To make this popular New England style dish, start with a base of whole-wheat flour, mixed with milk and rolled in egg. Add a pinch of salt and pepper to the flour, followed by a half-and-half mixture of vegetable shortening and mayonnaise. Form a dough using your fingertips and roll into a circle, about a quarter inch thick. Place the dough on a baking tray, and allow it to rise for about two hours. Unmold the dough just before baking, re-rolling and smooth the surface.
In order to complete the full flavor of this treat, add some of your favorite ingredients, such as chicken breast, canned or fresh seafood, and some of your favorite seasonings, like Old Bay Seasoning, Smoked Paprika, garlic, or Cayenne. At this point, if you are using fresh lobsters, cut them loose from their shells and slice the meat off of the bones. You can use a toothpick to release the meat, or you may use the knife to do this. If using frozen pitches, thaw them and slice the meat off with your knife.
Next, assemble the lobster rolls. Spread a layer of mayonnaise over the top half, then add the meat, cheese, and any other ingredients you have chosen. Lay down the roll and fold it over so that it forms a U shape. Brush or soak the ends of the roll with water in order to help seal the ingredients in place.
Place a plate beneath each roll to hold them while you make your other food items. Spoon a third of your prepared stuffing into your food processor and whirling until smooth. Then use a fork to take half of the roll and smash it against the forks of your food processor until it forms a crumbly texture. Add any remaining ingredients and press down until completely smooth and fluffy. Finally, slice into quarters and serve.
Tina is a chef and runs her restaurant with her sister in Maine. They currently live in the house that used to be owned by their grandparents.