What better way to celebrate the end of August than homemade lobster rolls? We've been planning to make these all summer, but it wasn't until yesterday that I finally made a pilgrimage to South Boston to pick up the crustaceans. They were surprisingly cheap, only about $8 a pound. I bought two 1.5 pounders to make four rolls.
About an hour before eating I put on water to boil in the largest pot we own. Easy. Getting the lobsters in the pot was a different story. I knew it would only hold one at a time, so I grabbed the unlucky first out of the sink. Holding it by its back, I tried to drop it into the pot but it wouldn't fit in with its outstretched claws. To minimize its pain I wanted to get it in head first, but just ended up jamming it in sideways, forcing the lid on, and splashing water all over the stove. It was all very Annie Hall-esque, that is, without the broom or any Diane Keaton ties. I cooked it for 12 minutes until it was bright red, grabbed it from the water with tongs, put it in a collander, and somehow wrangled the second lobster into the pot to its death.
As the second lobster cooked I extracted the meat from the first. Without lobster crackers this also turned into a comedic situation. The tails were easy enough, they could be removed with a knife and meat pulled out with a fork. I used a wooden rolling pin to bludgeon the claws and knuckles until they cracked, spraying lobster juice everywhere. I chopped the meat into large chunks, threw it in a bowl, and added a large spoonful of mayo. The key is to add the mayo when the meat is hot so that it can absorb it. When the second lobster was done I repeated the whole process. To the mayo and lobster I also added 1 stick of celery, finely diced, the juice of one small lemon, salt and pepper. I put the filling in the fridge and turned to the buns.
The best buns for lobster rolls are split top hot dog buns. Cheap, delicious, eggy, white flour hot dog buns. To make them extra tasty, toasted them on the stove in butter. I also threw a few whole garlic cloves in the butter to give them a little kick.
When the buns were done, we filled them with the lobster mixture and chowed down. It took a lot of self restraint not to eat the entire roll in 30 seconds. The crispy exterior of the buns gave way to the doughy inside, which had absorbed the dressing. The dressing in turn was so minimal that it was very easy to taste the fresh, succulent lobster with a faint taste of seawater.
If it wasn't 90 degrees out, I would have baked a blueberry dessert for the perfect summer Maine dinner. But even with just fudgicles afterwards it was pretty superb.