There is a reason that Rockland, Maine is the Lobster Capital of the world, and no one does the lobster roll better than the people who work and live here. Hands down.
When you get your fix at the Maine Lobster Festival, you may still want to compare it to the way our local chefs and roadside stands prepare it (for scientific research of course.)
True Maine Style
We have to start with the classic Maine style, because this is the way locals do it. And when in Rome…er Maine…best to start with the gold standard. A hearty portion of claw, tail and knuckle meat is mixed with mayonnaise, celery, and a dash of salt and pepper. If you’re really going to get crazy, perhaps a bit of tarragon. The classic hot dog bun toasted and brushed with butter is the only acceptable method of delivery for the true Maine lobster roll. The crunchy buttery texture against the sweet, tender lobster is something you’ll dream about in January.
If you’re from Connecticut, the only way you’ll eat this summer staple is to hold the mayo and serve the lobster meat warmed from the pan. Serve unadorned on a split-top hot dog bun with a side of melted butter. That’s what they call a “lobster roll.” Serve it cold the way most New Englanders do, and it becomes the “lobster salad roll.”
Hot, Hot, Hot
There is no right or wrong way when it comes to lobster roll recipes—no judgment here. If you like hot sauce on everything, this one’s for you. You start with a Kaiser roll split and lightly buttered, and add a layer of lettuce leaf. Again, utilizing the mayonnaise technique, mix lobster meat with lime juice, chopped green onion, celery and the kicker… a dash of hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco. Top with a sprig of parsley or basil and you’ve got an unconventional, but zingy lobster roll. (Full recipe from All Recipes)
If you really want to veer from the purist path, this recipe calls for an ice-water bath after the lobster is cooked. When the meat is chilled, mix it with mayonnaise, diced celery, lemon juice and cayenne pepper. Brush the hot dog bun with melted butter then toast it and top with shredded lettuce. Enjoy that lobster roll in its spicy sweetness and know what it feels to stand on the top of Mount Katahdin (Maine’s highest point) and yell “I did it!” (Full recipe from Food and Wine)
Oh now you’re getting fancy
You’re a gourmet. Why drive a Ford if you can drive a Porsche? This recipe calls for the flavors of lemon vinaigrette and garlic butter. Once the meat is coarsely chopped, brush inside of a hot dog bun with garlic butter. Then give that lobster meat a fancy bath of lemon juice, olive oil, scallions, celery leaves, and parsley with a hint of salt. (Full recipe from Epicurious)
After you’ve had a great lobster roll at the Maine Lobster Festival, try some of these at home. Enjoy!