June 09, 2011

By Contributor Marge Perry, A Sweet and Savory Life and Ask the Expert

When I first heard about a crème brulee with chunks of chocolate and banana in it, I nearly wept. It’s not that I am a rigid traditionalist, it’s just that when a food is nearly perfect, there is just no need to embellish. And there are a couple of dishes in this world that exist close to perfection in their simplest, most stripped down state, and just get mucked up when cooks try to fancy them up.

Okay, now that I have insulted anyone who has ever fiddled around and added things to their crème brulee, I will do the same for the folks who add chipotle and truffles and rosemary and assorted other non-mayonnaise-and-lobster ingredients to what they call a lobster roll.

If you’re wondering what gives me the right to be so high and mighty about lobster rolls, I will tell you: I have travelled down the coast of Maine tasting every lobster roll along the way (even at McDonalds!). I embarked on this overwhelmingly difficult scientific study one summer after dropping my daughter off at camp (tiny little Rachel with that enormous backpack—how would she survive?!) when I was in need of a deeply challenging diversion.

Truly, my husband David  (he is a chef and frequent contributor to Cooking Light magazine) and I stopped at every little shack we could find, every roadside stand, every “seafood restaurant” with the singular, clear mission of learning what constitutes the perfect lobster roll. There was the lobster, celery and carrot roll (shiver me timbers—it crunched!), one with Old Bay (yowza—way to bury the lobster flavor!), and the infamous imitation-mayo-with-lobster-bits sandwich on a white roll.

My husband and I tasted and documented dozens of rolls on our journey. (An adventure that was spawned in equal parts by my motherly concern for a daughter on her own in the very woods in which bears are known to roam, and in part by the enormous debt of gratitude my husband and I owe to Red Lobster. It’s a long story, but you can read about it on A Sweet and Savory Life.  By now, you have probably heard enough about mother love and lobster love and the Great Romance and would like to just get to it.)

A perfect lobster roll – one that keeps fresh lobster meat in the starring roll, and allows all ingredients in its environs to enhance everything wonderful about those sweet morsels of lobster goodness--  is made with a lightly toasted, lightly buttered, top split hot dog bun filled with chunks of lobster that barely gave mayonnaise the time of day. For a more precise recipe, see Lobsters, Lies, and How to Make the Perfect Lobster Roll.   Or search for other lobster roll recipes on MyRecipes.

You May Like