Summer in Maryland is synonymous with eating crabs. It’s hard to imagine a summer without the fun of this communal tradition…outside, gathered together picking and enjoying a bountiful table full of crabs. We love them boiled or steamed. Not to mention, no Maryland pantry is without at least one can of Old Bay seasoning at all times.
But a little further North, there is another crustacean that rules the tradition of summer eating. The lobster. And more specifically, the “Lobster Roll”.
To clarify, New England consists of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut & Rhode Island and there are three distinct styles of this summer “sandwich”: the Connecticut Lobster Roll (introduced in 1929), the New England Lobster Roll, a.k.a. “Lobster Salad Roll” (introduced in 1965), and the Maine Lobster Roll.
Depending on where you go, menus vary as do opinions regarding this regional delicacy and what makes a “Real” Lobster Roll.
The Maine version, while not the original version, is what the purists refer to when they say lobster roll. First, the roll itself is a New England hot-dog bun. The sides are flat, often buttered on the outside and lightly grilled or toasted, and the split is on the top instead of the side. Second, the lobster meat is served cold and tossed lightly with mayonnaise and is usually a mixture of knuckle, claw & chunks of tail meat.
The “Lobster Salad Roll” is almost identical to the Maine version and many New Englanders do not distinguish between the two. However, this variation will typically have lettuce on the bun and/or celery in the lobster, mayo mix and will still be served cold.
The Connecticut Lobster Roll is lobster meat sautéed with clarified butter and served warm on a more traditional style roll. This was actually the original lobster roll hailing from Milford, CT at a restaurant called Perry’s.
Most all styles are served with French fries, onion rings or potato chips, a side of coleslaw and a pickle.
Of course, like any other classic dish, there are those who want to reinvent the wheel to make it their own. As such, you may find celery salt, paprika, Old Bay, fresh cracked black pepper, parsley, basil, dill, or tarragon in a lobster roll.
So, if you’re tired of crabs (which of course we know is ridiculous) and want to try this classic summer dish from New England, we always have fresh cold-water lobster here in our tank. We are happy to steam them for you and we also sell picked lobster meat by the pound.
No matter which version you decide to make at home, the most important thing is to enjoy the sweet taste of the lobster meat. And while we know that lobster rolls may take a back seat to crabs for many of you, we can guarantee you will love them!