Sunday, August 4, 2013

Lobster or Other Seafood Rolls

My father was not a rich man.  He was alive through the depression and was raised in the early part of the century in a rather rural and humble area of New Brunswick.  He had a tough life, but was very hard working and died at 47.  I understand that one of the things he did to make money was to drive to the coast of Maine.(We were living in Littleton, Maine in the far north and right on the Canadian border.)  He would evidently take my brother with him and would buy lobsters or other seafood(someone may correct me on this) and drive them back north to sell them.  The trek to the coast, that only takes three hours or less now, would take MANY more hours then without highways(Thank you, Mr. Eisenhower).  On the way back, he would have to put my brother on his lap and let him drive part of the way north...Dick was quite young.
This issue with seafood is simplicity.  The best seafood, whether it is in Maine or Italy, is keeping the ingredients simple, fresh and plentiful, if you can afford it!
I have to say...I do not like most seafood, but I am learning.  I like shrimp...but love the cocktail sauce more.  Scallops are OK, but in moderation...Pan seared!!!!  I could care less about the rest!
However...Lobster rolls(shrimp, and scallops can be done exactly the same way) are very easy. 
Drop the lobsters, head first, into the pot of salted water(like sea water or unsalted).  Boil for about 20 minutes and lift out(so you can boil more presumably).  Cool slightly.
 Tear off the tail.  Remove enough of the tiny tail fins to allow you just enough room for your finger to push the meat out from end of tail to the open end.  Use a finger or a wooden spoon handle. (You can cut the tail shell open on the underside with shears if you like) Split the tail lengthwise with your fingers or tear off a thin little flap of the meat at the big end to reveal the sand vein or intestine.  The place on the opposite end from where the tail fins attached,  on the highly colored side of the tail has the flap to peel off.  Do not discard the flap after removing the vein.  it is good meat.  Remove the vein and discard.
Remove the claws and crack open with nut crackers and remove the meat. 
Remove the little(thumb) part of the claw and pull out the meat if it does not come out with the rest.  Remove the hard cartilage.   Tear off the knuckles of the claw(arms).  Either crack them open, push out the meat with a finger or cut them open with kitchen shears or a big knife...a good way to sever a finger if you are not careful...or push the meat out with a slender wooden spoon handle etc..  
If you do not want the tomalley, rinse it off the meat in the water from the pot. 
Pull the body apart and look for lumps of meat along the area where the legs attach.  Tear off the little legs and struggle to remove the tiny bits of meat inside.  All of my relatives save the legs in the refrigerator for later and suck out the meat and juices while watching TV etc.
The very best meat is in the body.  Try to only use MEAT from inside, as it can be confusing in there.  A thorough search will render a bit of meat, but there is also dry feeling lung tissue etc..  The green is liver or tomalley, and sometimes there will be Roe or coral.  Both can be eaten and are often included in sauces for the lobster.(Not my cup of tea!)
Chill the meat till using it, if you can keep yourself from eating it then and there.
Serve with hot!!!! butter and/or lemon.  Cocktail sauce or tartar sauce can be used, but most Mainers would faint dead away!

Butter a simple hot dog roll(other rolls work of course, but simple is usually best...Brioche would be wonderful)   Use the type of roll with the flat, exposed white bread on either side.  Grill on a charcoal grill, griddle or frying pan till toasted.  Do this as you serve them to keep the roll hot and steaming inside and the lobster cool but not icy cold.

Cut the meat up into manageable bite sizes, but not too small.  Mix in a tiny amount of Mayonnaise to taste(remember tiny amount but your family taste will rule) and stuff into a roll.  Sprinkle a bit of Paprika on top and that is it.  Some people will just drown the lobster in butter, lemon butter, Old Bay butter etc. instead of mayo.  That is perfectly valid, but you can always count on the plain mayo being best.  A bit of lettuce, or coleslaw is not uncommon, especially when the lobster is expensive and needs extending.

A bit of celery...sliced thin, not in chunks...or even onion might suit your taste...the crunch of the celery would be nice.

A mixture of seafood in the rolls would be very nice...not as coveted, but nice, and might make them more affordable depending on the local prices.

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