It is widely believed that lobster rolls originated at a restaurant called Perry’s in Milford, Connecticut, in the late 1920s. Growing in popularity along the upper east coast of the US, the sandwich was then served warm, but soon chilled versions were prepared. In classic American style, these were dubbed “lobster salad rolls”.
The simple dish is one of the foremost cultural touchpoints in the north-east of the US. It has been popular for decades, drawing on the rich fishing history in the region. Maine, too, is synonymous with lobster in bread, and as much as the crustacean is a delicacy, it is common – a heady, protein-abundant bite to be enjoyed by the sea.
Typically, especially in Maine, lobster rolls are served in a hot dog bun, where, soft and white, it is split lengthways and filled to the brim with chunky pieces of knuckle, claw and tail. Seasoning is light: the lobster is cooked down in butter, lemon juice, salt and pepper; some chefs might venture into spring rolls or celery, and paprika or cayenne might make an appearance as the seafood is thrust into mayonnaise.
In this recipe, lobster rolls are given a European makeover, using the finest seafood available here – some might argue that we are blessed with the best in the cold waters around Britain – and turbocharged with mustard and Spanish chorizo. Such additions might be considered blasphemous. It is certainly the case that fine ingredients need little meddling.
But chef Andrew Pern, from the acclaimed Star at Harome in North Yorkshire, creates a lobster roll of serious joy here: mustard adds a slow heat, celery a vibrant freshness, and the chorizo brings warming fat, much-needed in November. With a salad and a beer, these will go beautifully with, say, England losing in the World Cup. Expect more of these football-ready recipes as we prepare for Qatar.
30g butter, at room temperature
2 long bread rolls, such as submarine rolls
160-170g cooked lobster meat, cut into bite-sized pieces
½ stick of celery, diced
2-3 tbsp good quality mayonnaise
1 tsp English mustard
1 baby gem lettuce
30g smoked chorizo
A little oil Herb salad to garnish
Prepare the filling for the rolls by first combining the mustard into the mayonnaise and seasoning to taste. Mix in the lobster meat and celery.
Grill the chorizo until crisp, then crush with a rolling pin or similar, to make coarse “sprinkles” and keep warm.
Keep the grill on a high setting. Slice the rolls horizontally and butter both sides. Grill on both sides until golden.
Cut the lettuce into quarters and brush lightly with the oil. Place under the grill until the edges begin to char. Remove and keep warm.
To assemble, place a slice of the toasted roll on to two plates, share the lobster meat between the two slices of toast. Add two quarters of the lettuce on top, then sprinkle over the chorizo.
Add a second slice of toast to each and garnish with herb salad.