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.
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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Place lobster meat in bowl, and dress generously with aioli.
- 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.
- 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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