PJP Recipes: Maine Lobester Roll with Brown Butter Aioli

There’s a rift that’s formed in the communities of New England. Surprisingly, it has absolutely nothing to do with either the Sox or the Patriots. It’s the right way to serve and/or eat a lobster roll – with butter or with mayo. I’m just a transplant with no allegiance to anything except the pursuit of the delicious. So I had to do a fair amount of field research on this one. My findings were inconclusive – they’re both an incredible way to eat this highbrow/lowbrow hybrid. But, in the spirit of reconciliation, I believe I’ve come up with a solution for everyone: a brown butter aioli lobster roll.

Authors Note

Full disclosure: While I love lobster, I’m not the biggest fan of going through the whole messy process of steaming lobsters, picking meat,  and chilling it. Instead I picked up a 2lb pack of fresh meat from the dock just down the street from where I work in Portland, Maine. If you’re not able to source picked lobster meat, the process of steaming lobsters isn’t difficult or particularly time-consuming. You can find a myriad tutorials online.

So, let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs fresh lobster meat (I used TKC, or Tail-Knuckle-Claw, because it’s beautiful and delicious.)
  • 1/2lb unsalted butter
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 Tbl dijon mustard
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbl kosher salt
  • 2C canola or vegetable oil
  • 6 New England-style split-top hotdog buns
  • 6Tbl butter, softened
  • Chives or scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Place 1/2 lb unsalted butter in sauté pan or sauce pan. Put on low to medium-low heat on stovetop, whisking regularly until butter separates, milk solids brown, and butter gives off a nutty aroma.  Allow to cool to room temperature.  You will end up with 3/4C of brown butter, give or take.
  2. Add eggs, garlic, dijon, salt, pepper, and lemon juice to bowl of a food processor. Process on high until smooth, then begin adding oil very slowly.  If mixture begins to over emulsify (you know, if it looks like a big ball of fat doing laps in your Cuisinart), add water 1 Tablespoon at a time.  After oil is all added, slowly add in room temperature brown butter, including browned milk solids.  Season to taste.
  3. Place lobster meat in bowl, and dress generously with aioli.
  4. This is an incredibly important, and potentially underrated step: toast both exposed sides of each split-top bun until golden brown and crispy. This will improve the texture of these rolls tremendously, giving a much-needed crunch.
  5. Dish “lobster salad” into each bun, garnish with chive or scallion, and enjoy!

Author’s Note, V2:

You can make a completely passable lobster roll with sore-bought mayo, but it won’t be this good – don’t slack on the aioli – you won’t regret it.

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Ryan Lamon

Ryan Lamon

Professional Chef/Restaurateur and Recipe Writer/Tester

Ryan, a second generation Georgia pitmaster, began his career at his father’s restaurant, Frank’s Real Pit BBQ in Hoschton, GA. After working at several restaurants in Georgia, Ryan moved to New York City where he cooked at the original Fatty Crab under James Beard Award-winning chef Zak Pelaccio. He later he earned a Bon Appetit Best New Restaurants nod in 2012 as the opening chef de cuisine of Plum Alley in Salt Lake City, Utah. In 2013, Ryan started Peaches’ Smokehouse & Southern Kitchen, a gourmet BBQ and Southern food truck, and followed it up with Poppy+Rose, a brick-and-mortar in downtown LA a year later. He is currently operating a small consulting firm, Smoke and Vinegar Co.