The one where we make Lobster Rolls

Everyone knows the best week in Tulsa is lobster roll week at Trencher’s. The 40 person line and curt man who used to work at the register are well worth that first bite: warm bread that’s both crispy and delightfully soft; the smell of fresh lobster hits your nose at the same time the sweet salinity hits your tongue; mayo so light you don’t even know it’s there. Perfect lobster rolls in Oklahoma–they can be done!

So I know I know, lobster isn’t exactly a budget friendly item. No shame in po’ boying it with shrimp or the frozen langoustines you can buy at Trader Joe’s. My bourgie ass has just GOTSTA splurge every now and then though.

Now, I’m not a mayo person. But the mayo is crucial in this recipe–trust me, it keeps the lobster light and succulent. It holds the salad together and keeps it from getting watery and gross. The salad won’t be creamy at all–just fresh!

Believe it or not, I nabbed this recipe from a restaurant in Minneapolis (!!) called the Smack Shack. I ate there for dinner one night and loved it, then was thrilled to see the place again at the airport. It was 9:30 am and I got a lobster roll anyway. Foodie for lyfe.

You’ll Need:

  • 2 live Maine lobsters
  • JK! You think I have the stomach for throwing breathing living things into a pot of boiling water while they scream in agony? Fuck that. Also, de-shelling is just not my forte.
  • Okay for real now. About 1-1.5 lbs of frozen lobster meat, thawed. THE GOOD STUFF. The kind of stuff you have to get from Bodean’s or an actual fish monger. I wouldn’t trust anything from Target or Sam’s.
  • A clamshell of tarragon
  • A cucumber
  • Mayonnaise. Don’t even THINK about using Miracle Whip, it’s disgusting. Don’t try to save calories by using Greek yogurt either, the taste is way too strong and is an unforgivable sin against that delicate and delicious lobster meat.
  • Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
  • Butter lettuce or arugula
  • Oil spray or softened butter
  • Brioche buns. Or milk bread if you know where to find any.
  • Lemon, for garnish

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Split your buns down the top and gently pry them open a bit…you want that surface area, baybee! Spritz with oil or slather with some softened butter.
  2. Take your thawed lobster meat and let it drain in a colander. You want the meat to be dry-ish before mixing it with the other ingredients.
  3. While the oven is heating and lobster is draining, peel and de-seed your cucumber, the finely dice about half of a cup. Gently pull about half of the tarragon from their stems and chop up those leaves too.
  4. Take a paper towel and gently press down on the lobster, absorbing the last bit of excess moisture. Dump onto a cutting board and give it a quick chop, breaking up any large pieces but still leaving lots of texture. Toss in a bowl with the cucumber, tarragon, and 1/4 cup of mayo. Taste, then add salt and pepper to your liking. Set aside in the fridge to let the flavors meld.
  5. Toast your brioche buns in the oven for 7-8 minutes, until they’re golden, crisp on the surface but soft underneath.
  6. To assemble, gently open the buns and add a thin layer of butter lettuce or arugula. Top with a generous serving of the lobster salad. Squeeze a little lemon on top. Try not to cram the whole thing into your mouth at once.

Remix The Dish: The lobster salad will taste just as awesome the next day after the tarragon really sets in. I’m extra AF and plan on eating it in butter lettuce wraps for lunch the next couple days at work! For a more traditional take, use parsley and celery instead of tarragon and cucumbers.

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