Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Maine Lobster Roll Sandwich

1. 4 (1 pound) lobsters
2. 1/4 cup mayonnaise, plus
3. 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
4. Salt and freshly ground pepper
5. 1/4 cup finely diced celery
6. 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
7. Pinch of cayenne pepper
8. 4 top-split hot dog buns
9. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
10. 1/2 cup shredded Boston lettuce

1. Prepare a large ice-water bath. In a very large pot of boiling salted water, cook the lobsters until they turn bright red, about 10 minutes. Using tongs, plunge the lobsters into the ice-water bath for 2 minutes, then drain.
2. Twist off the lobster tails and claws and remove the meat. Remove and discard the intestinal vein that runs the length of each lobster tail. Cut the lobster meat into 1/2-inch pieces and pat dry, then transfer to a strainer set over a bowl and refrigerate until very cold, at least 1 hour.
3. In a large bowl, mix the lobster meat with the mayonnaise and season with salt and pepper. Fold in the diced celery, lemon juice and cayenne pepper until well blended.
4. Heat a large skillet. Brush the sides of the hot dog buns with the melted butter and toast over moderate heat until golden brown on both sides. Transfer the hot dog buns to plates, fill them with the shredded lettuce and the lobster salad and serve immediately.

In Maine you're likely to find lobster rolls served two ways. Innovators prefer a crunchy, tangy and slightly spicy version of the lobster salad that includes celery, lettuce, lemon juice and a pinch of cayenne. Purists leave out those ingredients because they believe nothing should interfere with the mix of sweet tender summer lobster and mayonnaise.

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