In Maine, finding a good lobster roll is like finding a needle in a haystack. Some places buy some pre-made lobster salad, with a 30-day shelf life, that is pale pink, loaded with cheap quality mayo and then placed on a roll that is not even toasted. The view, the sound of gulls and the sweet smell of the Atlantic helps to elevate the taste of a mediocre lobster roll. Really, what is so complex that it eludes so many restaurants in lobster land?
I feel that the humble hot dog roll is the perfect base and that is what the original creator of a lobster roll had in mind. A good quality commercial hot dog roll and not homemade, that wouldn't give it the proper feel in your anxious hand or the right texture. Freshly cooked, cooled and shucked lobster from a pound and a half lobster. Sounds like a lot? I did mention "perfect," didn't I?
In a bowl, cut up the lobster meat (tail, claws and knuckles) with a handy pair of scissors into medium size chunks, add chopped fresh chives to taste and then add the smallest amount of good quality mayonnaise. Remember you can always add more, but it sure is difficult to take it back out. Refrigerate the mixture covered until you are ready to artfully arrange it on the roll. Now for the loving toasting of that hot dog roll.
I melt two tablespoons of butter (I like lightly salted, homemade butter, but you decide) per roll in a skillet until it melts and just starts to bubble. I dip and press the roll on each side lapping up the melted butter and forcing it into the roll. Then turn the heat to low and let it slowly become the most gorgeous golden color, flip it and do the same to the second side. Get your best vintage plate and fill the hot dog rolls with the cold lobster salad. The best topping should be fresh paprika but I prefer smoked Spanish paprika on mine, it takes it to the next level of ecstasy.
Like any food, it is the simple combination of the best ingredients put together seamlessly that radiates the magic of that first bite all the way to the last...
--By Brenda Athanus