A traditional lobster roll is a sandwich filled with lobster meat soaked in butter and served on a steamed hot dog bun or similar roll, so that the opening is on the top rather than on the side. There are variations of this sandwich made in other parts of New England, which may contain diced celery or spring onion, and mayonnaise. The sandwich may also contain lettuce, lemon juice, salt and black pepper.
- Crack the lobster, remove all the meat, cut it into large chunks and set aside.(Lobster shells can be kept to make a lobster stock.)
- Mix the mayonnaise with the lemon juice, celery, cayenne and a small pinch of salt, then fold the lobster through to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning. <em>(If eating straight away leave at room temperature, otherwise chill for up to 1 day in advance.)</em>
- To serve, split the rolls <em>(on top is best)</em>, line with shredded lettuce, and divide the lobster mix between the rolls. Scatter with chives <em>(if using)</em>.
- Serve with fries and sliced gherkin.
Traditional New England restaurants serve lobster rolls (made with butter, not mayonnaise) with potato chips or french fries on the side. The lobster roll was originated at a restaurant named Perry’s, in Milford, Connecticut as early as 1929, according to John Mariani’s, “Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink.” Once Perry’s put the new sandwich on its menu, its popularity spread up and down the Connecticut coast, but not far beyond. For those residing in Connecticut, a lobster roll served warm is simply called a “lobster roll” while the lobster roll served cold as it is throughout the rest of the northeast region and the world is called a “lobster salad roll”. The lobster salad roll took off on the Eastern End of Long Island, New York, starting in 1965, pioneered by the Lobster Roll Restaurant The Lobster Roll.
As far back as 1970, chopped lobster meat heated in drawn butter was served on a hot dog bun at road side stands such as Red’s Eats in Maine, Lobster rolls in the U.S. are associated with the state of Maine, but are also commonly available at seafood restaurants in the other New England states and on Eastern Long Island, where lobster fishing is common. They tend to be virtually unheard-of in landlocked regions (such as the Upper Midwest), where fresh lobster is more expensive and more difficult to obtain.
Lobster rolls prepared in Maine generally have several common characteristics: first, the roll itself is a “New England” or “Frankfurter” roll that is baked slightly differently from a standard hot dog roll, so the sides are flat and can be buttered on the outside and lightly grilled or toasted, and is split on the top instead of the side; second, the lobster meat in the roll is usually served cold, rather than warm or hot; third, there can be a very light spread of mayonnaise inside the bun or tossed with the meat before filling the roll, though usually do not have any other ingredients typical of the “lobster salad” variation in other parts of New England. The lobster meat is usually knuckle, claw, and tail meat chunks, with 115 g (4 oz) of meat the common advertised serving size.
They are a staple summer meal throughout the Maritime provinces in Canada, particularly Nova Scotia where they may also appear on hamburger buns, baguettes, or other types of bread rolls — even pita pockets. The traditional sides are potato chips and dill pickles.