Obviously, there is a huge debate about which type of lobster roll is better: Connecticut or New England–style. Being from Connecticut, I am biased, of course: warm lobster over cold. For me, the CT-style wins because of how the lobster meat absorbs the butter sauce when it is poached. (You want the meat a bit under-cooked—just coming out of the shell—when you poach it, so the lobster finishes cooking as it warms in the butter sauce; that’s what helps it retain its succulent flavor.) And don’t skimp on the crunch on top.
Note: A slurry is a mixture of starch and water used to thicken sauces, stews, and other hot preparations. It is made by combining equal parts cornstarch and water and stirring until a paste forms, then adding the paste to boiling water.
Connecticut-Style Lobster Rolls
- 1/2 cup kosher salt plus more for the butter sauce
- 2 (1 1/4- to 1 1/2 pound/570 to 680 g) live Maine lobsters
- 1 cup (2 sticks/350 g) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes, plus additional for toasting the rolls
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/3 cup (25 g) Ritz cracker crumbs and 1/3 cup (25 g) panko
- 2 pinches cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- Pinch granulated garlic
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1 1/4 cups (300 ml) hot water
- 4 potato rolls
- In a large pot, bring 3 quarts (2.8 L) water and the salt to a boil. Add the lobsters, and when the water returns to a boil, cook the lobsters for 5 minutes with the lid on, then immediately take them out of the water and let cool to room temperature. (Do not shock with cold water, as that dulls the flavor.)
- While the lobster is cooling, heat the butter in a small 2-quart pot. Once the butter is halfway melted, combine the cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water to make a slurry, (see note above) add it to the butter, and whisk immediately to emulsify. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting to keep warm while you make the breadcrumbs.
- Pulse the Ritz cracker crumbs and panko crumbs in a food processor until the Ritz crackers are broken down to the same size as the panko. Add 2 pinches salt, the cayenne, paprika, and granulated garlic and dry-toast the crumb mixture in a sauté pan over medium heat until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the pan from heat and toss the crumbs with the extra-virgin olive oil, chopped parsley, and lemon zest. Set aside.
- Once the lobster is cool enough to handle, remove the tail and claw meat from the shells by twisting the tail off, followed by the claws. (You can reserve the body in the shell in the freezer for another use, such as lobster stock.) Cut the tail meat into 8 pieces per lobster, and the claw meat into 4 pieces per lobster, and place the meat in the warm butter sauce. Poach in the butter sauce over very low heat, about 6 to 8 minutes, while you prepare the buns.
- Butter each roll with about 1⁄4 tablespoon butter per side. (Do not over butter them, as the lobster is very rich.) Lightly toast by placing the buns face down on a grill pan or frying pan over medium heat.
- Place the prepared lobster meat in a serving bowl and put one bun on each plate. Serve immediately, passing the lobster meat around the table.