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Lobster Rolls


Here is what I want to tell you: do not fear the lobster. 

So many people think cooking lobster is difficult, but this, my friends, is a vicious myth. 8-12 minutes in a boiling pot and a good recipe is all it takes. 

A lobster roll on a summer day is my favorite. When the bun is toasted and buttery and warm? When the meat is chilled and sprinkled with lemon and roe? When you have an excellent glass of white wine, also chilled, to drink alongside it? Well, what could be nicer.

I have to tell you, in my novel, The From-Aways? One of the main characters, Leah Lynch, has more than a bit of trouble cooking lobsters for herself and her new husband, Henry. In fact, she fails epically. Here’s where Leah goes wrong: she names the lobsters. (She also lets them romp about in her bathtub.) Once she’s called them Lavender and Leopold she doesn’t stand a chance.  

Here is what I am telling you: Do not, under any circumstances, name your lobsters. 

You’ll be fine. It’s easy. Drink a glass of wine for courage when you boil them. Drink another with the meal. It will be a lovely evening. 

Here is my mother’s recipe for lobster rolls, the one I use to this day.


Celery Salt
Hot Dog Rolls
Optional: paprika, fresh basil, roe
(3 half-pound lobsters makes about 5 rolls…but in my family, we like a generous roll, and have even been known to use a one-to-one lobster to roll ratio)


Boil the lobsters in a non-traumatic way (please reference, the True Story of Lavender and Leopold) and, after they’ve sufficiently cooled, crack and remove the meat. Place the meat in a large bowl. Tear the meat into small chunks. 

Adding several scant tablespoons of mayo, mix the ingredients with your fingers so that the mayo lightly coats the chunks of lobster meat. If you are the sort of cook that the author’s mother is, you will speak to your lobster as you do this: That’s right! There we go! That’s the ticket! This is understood to improve flavor and integration. DO NOT overdress ... just enough mayo to lightly coat the lobster meat is sufficient! 

Add the juice of one (or one half) lemon depending on how much lobster you’re using—don’t let any seeds sneak in. 

Slice two to four ribs of celery (again, depending on how much lobster) crosswise, then halve each slice.  

Add celery salt to taste. 

Some people like to add a tiny bit of fresh shredded basil. This is not traditional, but it can be delicious. This is, of course, is up to you. 

Be sure to add all components gradually and taste as you go so you don't over salt. 

Serve on toasted hot dog rolls.

You may sprinkle the tops of the rolls with a bit of paprika, if that kind of thing is your kind of thing. 

If you are lucky enough to get a lady lobster with red roe inside, crumble the roe over the rolls as garnish.