The most famous sandwich in New England is a lobster roll. What can you say about a lobster roll? After all, it is just a sandwich served on what most people would call a hotdog or frankfurter bun. But what a sandwich it is! It consists of succulent, sweet lobster meat barely dressed with mayonnaise and served on a buttered and toasted “New England style” hotdog roll. It is Yankee simplicity at its’ best. Oh my, is it good…wicked good as a New Englander would say.
While spending my summers in Maine, I often write about my travels around the state mentioning beautiful places to explore and good food to seek out when you visit. It might be a well known white tablecloth restaurant or a seafood “shack” by the water. When I mention eating lobster, the comments from readers is always about wanting to try a lobster roll when they visit Maine.
Originally the sandwich was found in areas that had an abundance of lobsters living off their local waters…along the eastern coast of Canada, New England and as far south as Long Island, New York. This sandwich of humble origins can now be found in many places throughout our country and has even made its’ way to well known restaurants in Paris.
There is no real recipe for a lobster roll but purists will say that it is chunks of fresh knuckle, claw and tail meat from a lobster mixed with just enough mayonnaise to hold it together. It is piled to overflowing in a “New England style” split top white roll which has been lightly buttered on the outside and grilled to a golden brown color. That is it.
Of course, you will find the sandwich being made with celery, onion, lettuce, avocado, and different herbs and seasonings. It might be served on a croissant, a baguette, a whole wheat roll or a hamburger bun. I’m sure most variations are very good but if you have one of them just don’t let the lobster roll purists in New England know that you liked it.
If your diet limits the eating of gluten or carbs, all hope is not lost. You might consider having lobster salad stuffed into a vine ripe tomato served on a bed of lightly dressed greens. Here you can have a little more discretion with what you mix with the lobster. I would still suggest just enough mayonnaise to hold the lobster together but not mask its’ sweet flavor. I think a touch of lemon juice, a small amount of chopped fresh tarragon, salt and pepper compliment the lobster well.
With the price of lobster at $3.99 a pound (less the chopped beef), this has been an indulgent summer for the many people living in Maine and throughout New England. There is no guilt in eating lobster often, whether it is boiled or steamed with drawn butter, stirred into risotto, served with pasta, eaten as a salad or even the most famous sandwich in New England, the lobster roll.
I do hope that you get a chance to visit New England sometime. If you do, you might want to go on a quest to find your favorite lobster roll. It is out there just waiting for you to discover it.