Friday, June 24, 2011

Simple Lobster Salad Rolls, The Way We Remember

It was her last day of school.

I picked her up and after chatting a little about her day I asked, "What would you like for dinner?" Sounds weird that I'd ask her that. But my little miss junior-to-be loves food and I thought I knew the answer. I thought she'd excitedly ask to have mussels at Bertucci's, her absolutely favorite treat lately.

Without hesitating, she said, "lobsters!". I almost whacked my forehead with the palm of my hand. Of course! Why wouldn't she ask for lobsters, or "mobsters" as she and brother used to call them as toddlers. Lobsters have been a special treat in this family for years. Until three years ago, we vacationed on Cape Cod for two weeks during our summers since before her younger brother could walk. If they weren't yet eating lobsters, they were seeing plenty of them, hearing lots about them, and wearing shirts with them dancing on the front.

Summer 1997

Off season, the only time we had lobsters were on New Year's Eve when we would all shop for them, cook them together, and enjoy the method and mess that comes along with extracting their succulent meat, dipping them in warm butter. And, living in the Ocean State, well, lobsters are that sought-after special treat during the summer months. Seems like it isn't summer until we have lobster.

Since I don't like cooking lobster, I told her that I'd get some loose lobster meat if it were on sale only. Otherwise, she'd have to "settle" for mussels or clams. Lucky her - it was on sale! Although, not so lucky me because I never think the sale price of loose lobster meat is really a sale.

Anyway, here they are! We made these delicious and simple lobster rolls, just the way we remember from our days on the Cape.

Even though I know how I like to make lobster rolls (simply with mayonnaise, celery, and pepper), out of curiosity I looked in a book I had just bought at an antique store in New Hampshire. I was pleasantly surprised to see a recipe similar to mine. Now you should feel lucky because if I wrote my own recipe, the ingredients wouldn't be as precise - like my Chips recipe below!

1963, Twenty-third printing September 1975

Maine Lobster Salad
"For each cup of [cut up] boiled and chilled lobster meat . . . " add
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 stalk of celery, diced
Pepper to taste


Mix all ingredients except paprika.

Chill in fridge while toasting rolls, washing and tearing lettuce. Toasting rolls is optional.

Assemble rolls first by layering torn lettuce leaves, fill with lobster salad, top with a whole claw, sprinkle with paprika.

I don't have a precise recipe for these chips as I decided to make them at the last minute and was busy working about the kitchen. They're easy to make, but require a little watching. So hang out in the kitchen. Do the dishes. Get the rest of the meal ready. Or sip a cup of coffee while they're cooking.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees with the baking sheet in oven. To make these without sticking, the baking sheet must be sizzling hot.

Slice a few potatoes (I used red potatoes) into very thin slices with a mandoline. Toss slices with enough high-heat oil of your choice (I used high-heat sunflower oil) to coat well, and a little salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder - all to taste.

Spread them out on the sizzling hot baking sheet. Shake it so slices slide and spread around.

After a few minutes, check and make sure they're not sticking by sliding a spatula under them. Move them around and spread out the ones that are overlapping. Don't let too many overlap - I started off with some overlapping, but they shrink while cooking and there'll be less overlapping later. Check again soon and flip them over when it seems right - you can almost smell that they're done. And if they seem crispy and ready, they may not need to be flipped. Remove and drain on a paper towel lined platter.