We Came, We Clawed, We Conquered

Building the perfect lobster roll

Consider the lobster roll.

(We have. Like, obsessively. Tasting Table's fifth annual NYC Lobster Rumble–the Oscars-meets-World Series of lobster showdowns–is coming this summer. Watch your inbox for more information.)

But back to those lobster rolls: How do you make a good thing great? We played with the classic New England formula to come up with our perfect roll, balancing a few new tricks (lemongrass) and some timeless non-negotiables (hello, butter!).

Aromatics for the poaching liquid | Crisping the bun in butter and Old Bay.

Season the cooking liquid
Poach whole lobsters in very salty water seasoned with garlic, star anise, lemon peel, ginger, chiles and lemongrass. The cooking liquid infuses the meat with subtle flavor and (see the recipe) plays an important part in the lobster salad dressing, too.

Don't shock the meat

Lobsters spend enough time in icy water. Don't drown them in cold water after poaching–it toughens the meat and washes away the seasoning.

Mayonnaise packed with herbs and lemon to dress the freshly poached lobster.

ABM: Always Be Mayonnaising
Butter's great for buns, but we like to toss lobster meat in mayonnaise mixed with a bit of the poaching liquid and seasoned with celery salt, herbs and lemon zest. 

Crisp those buns

Melt a mix of butter and Old Bay seasoning in a hot pan and brown some soft, split-top buns in there until they're crisp. What are you waiting for?

And the easiest tip of all: Don't let the assembled roll sit around for long. Lobster perfection waits for no one.