Friday 26 September 2014

Lobster Rolls

There's not really any particular magic to these – they're simple for a reason, lobster just tastes so damn good that you don’t need to do much to make a good lobster roll.
Basically, this started out as ideas for catering for a big poker game I was hosting.  I wanted something light and easy that could be served up whilst we played cards and which fitted the Americana theme that all poker games seem to have.  It just so happened that frozen lobster tails were on offer at Waitrose which meant that, whilst they were still far from cheap, you could get them at a reasonable price for what they are.

As you can see, they are simple beautiful creatures.  It seems a shame to eat them.  Until you do, then you realise that they taste amazeballs.  Also, they go a pretty good colour in cooking too, so it's not all wasted, yeah?

The only complex thing is cooking the tails.  You can steam them as they are, or you can grill / griddle them.  I went for the latter.

To make these all you will need is:

1 lobster tail per roll (yes, actually – but remember that a whole lobster's worth of meat usually goes into a roll, so I'm actually being a bit tight with this...
Brioche rolls
1 lemon
[Oh, and if you're grilling your lobsters: salted butter, at room temperature, and one garlic clove.]

I know I haven't given amounts here, and I'm sure that's unhelpful.  Sorry.  But, you see, the thing is I can’t say how much you'll need because it's kinda dependent on how many rolls you're doing.  It's all quite fluid anyway, so I wouldn’t worry too much.

Right, first things first: cook the lobster tails.  If you're steaming, then look up how to do it in a book, and let me know how you get on.  If you're grilling, or griddling as I did, then they need to be split down the middle.  Do this with a full-size, heavy cook's knife.  You also need to get the griddle pan onto the heat ASAP, as it needs to be screaming hot.

Crush a clove of garlic into a bowl and mix it into a good lump of butter, so that you have something nice to grill the lobster tails with.  Brush the butter onto the open side of the split lobster tail before placing it flesh-side down onto the griddle.  Give it a few minutes – they'll curl up and go a bright pink.

Flip them over to grill them shell-side down.  As you do so, brush a bit more garlic butter on the meat – it'll dribble down and infuse the meat beautifully. 

By the way, I strongly recommend you do this is a well-ventilated kitchen with the extractor fan on full power.  These guys are going to create a lot of smoke.

When they're done – a bright orangey-pink all over – taken them off the heat and leave them to cool right down.  You should find that the tail meat comes out of the shells pretty easily.

Roughly chop the meat into nice big lumps, about the size you think would fit well in your finished roll.

In a mixing bowl, add a tablespoon or so of mayonnaise - depending on how many you're doing, of course! You just want the mayo to very lightly cover and bind the meat when it's all mixed up.  Season and squeeze in a quarter of the lemon.  Mix it all up, taste and add more mayo / lemon / seasoning to your own personal taste. 

In some parts of New England (from whence these puppies hail) they add a little lettuce – this is the stage to do so, if you like.  Slice up a baby gem heart horizontally into very fine ribbons and mix in with the meat. 

Toast the brioche rolls.  This can be done in the toaster or, if you've grilled them, under the grill or on the griddle pan.  Toasting the brioche will bring out all of the rich, sweet flavours that complement the lobster meat so well, so please don’t skip this step.  Doing so on a high heat (such as on the griddle pan) will leave little burn marks that only further enhance the flavour.

Give the rolls a smear of butter then stuff as much lobster in there as you can.  Eat vociferously.

 - GrubsterBoy -

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