How Much Lobster You Really Need For Lobster Rolls

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Lobster rolls taste like the surf in the summertime. Once, the classic lobster roll was a New England fast-food staple. Now, lobster rolls are popping up on fine dining and fast-casual menus across the country

As one of the most decadent summer sandwiches, the simple lobster roll oozes with flavors of the sea, spritzed with tangy lemon, served on buttery toasted buns. It's a satisfying snack or lunch when served with piping hot fries, coleslaw, macaroni or potato salad, and a crunchy dill pickle. These days, it seems that everyone has a riff on the classic lobster roll. You might find spices and seasonings, finely chopped herbs and spicy chiles, or an Asian twist with ginger and lemongrass, but the true classic needs little help to be perfect.

Maine is the home of the iconic lobster roll and Food & Wine magazine reports that you can find two styles of lobster rolls there. Traditionalists show restraint by adding a taste of mayonnaise to their rolls while modernist lobster rolls sport a lobster salad mixture of mayonnaise, celery, onion, and a sprinkling of cayenne pepper on a bed of Boston lettuce stuffed inside the bun. Saveur magazine points to a Connecticut lobster roll that is simply lobster chunks on a toasted bun drizzled with butter. Sometimes simple is best.

With this said, no matter the way you prefer your lobster roll made, the question that's common to any version, is how much lobster do you actually need per roll?

Sourcing lobster

Whether you're a lobster roll purist or long for a creative and spicy sandwich, the first step in crafting the perfect sandwich is sourcing the freshest lobster you can find.

Maine (American) lobsters thrive in the icy cold waters from Nova Scotia to North Carolina. Lobster Anywhere's Lobster 101 guide suggests cold-water lobster, like Maine lobster, has a firmer texture and is sweeter and more tasty and plump than warm water lobsters. The best time of year to buy lobster is from May to June and October to November. However, lobster is available all summer-long. Lobster fisheries like The Lobster Guy, Get Maine Lobster, and Maine Lobster Now ship catch-of-the-day lobsters right to your door. Lobster fisheries ship flash-frozen and fresh lobsters across the globe so you should be able to find one in your neighborhood.

Steam, boil, or grill your fresh lobsters or purchase pre-cooked, cleaned lobsters from your local seafood market. For best results, make sure the lobsters are cooked to order. You can also use frozen lobster meat chunks and flakes in a pinch but the flavors may not be as rich.

Once your lobster is cooked, let it cool without draining it or cooling it in an icy bath. You want to maintain the texture and flavors gained through cooking. If you opt for precooked or frozen lobster meat, thaw it completely according to the directions on the package and pat it dry with paper towels.

Preparing the lobster roll

Recipes vary on the right amount of lobster for each roll. The key is to balance flavors by selecting enough lobster to fit the bun. Experts agree that 3-4 ounces of lobster is optimal. When it comes to lobster, more can be more. Top your roll with a plump claw. You may need a knife and fork to eat your roll, but why scrimp on the good stuff? A perennial favorite lobster roll recipe comes from The Preppy Cookbook. Award-winning author-chef Christine E. Nunn uses two small lobsters to make four rolls. That is 5-6 ounces each!

According to Cook Fast, Eat Well, 3-4 ounces is what you should look to use per lobster roll, though you can even use a bit less per roll. The food blog suggests adding a dollop of Hellmann's mayo with a spritz of lemon juice to complete your quintessential lobster roll. Add a little chopped celery and red onion, and you'll have a real treat. Another addition? Old Bay Seasoning, a blend of 18 spices like celery seed, paprika, cayenne, and black pepper, enhances all types of seafood. Sprinkle it over your lobster rolls to bring out the sweet and salty flavors of the lobster.

As a last resort, you can order a Lobster Roll kit that has the perfect amount of lobster (2 pounds) and enough rolls, and fixings for eight delicious lobster rolls.