Yesterday, I showed you how to make court bouillon, which is the stock I used for cooking my lobsters. A while back, a reader wrote in and asked if I had ever made lobster rolls since I eat so many of them. Sadly, before last Saturday, I had never even purchased whole lobsters before! Lobsters kind of scare me, but I love eating them so I decided it was time for me to buck up and make them at home. I always walk by the fish stalls in Chinatown and see them on sale, so I finally decided to buy some. There are two stalls that sell lobsters on Canal Street, I went with the stall that had bigger lobsters:
If you’re buying lobsters, I’d recommend only purchasing them if they’re still alive (if not, you don’t know how long they’ve been frozen/sitting in the fridge). These lobsters were still moving a bit, which terrified me, especially on my walk home, but I bought six, thinking it would be enough to feed 5 people for dinner (I almost purchased 9 because I wasn’t sure how much each lobster would yield, but I’m really glad I stuck with 6 because there was more than enough lobster for 5 people…I made a total of 7 large lobster rolls with the 6 I purchased).
Now, when I say that I’m afraid of lobsters, I’m really not joking. As in, I don’t like touching them when they’re still alive. In order to remedy this situation, I put on some oven mitts and was able to hold the lobsters without fear:
I showed my friend the picture of me holding the lobster with oven mitts and he just laughed – apparently most people can just grab the live lobster with their bare hands! The court bouillon is best for cooking 1 – 2 lobsters at a time, so I cooked two at a time and the rest awaited/smelled their fate:
Once the court bouillon came to a boil, I placed two lobsters into the stock:
It’s important to place the lobsters in head first; if you place the lobsters in tail first, they’ll splash the boiling water all over you. Also, placing them into boiling water head first is the quickest and most painless way to kill the lobster. After the lobsters are in the stock, cover the pot and let it come to a boil again. Once the lobsters have come to a boil, remove the lid and let it boil for another 2 minutes:
After two minutes, remove the lobsters from the heat entirely, place the lid on the pot, and let the lobsters steep for about 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, you can remove the lobsters from the stock and let them cool:
While the first batch was cooling, we let the stock come to a boil again and then Ariel took care of the second batch:
Apparently Ariel was also afraid of holding the lobsters, so he used the oven mitts as well. We let David do the third batch but after we cut the rubber bands from the claws, the lobsters latched onto each other:
David has never dealt with live lobsters, either, so this REALLY freaked him out. The first lobster kind of put up a fight (his claws were horizontal, almost making it too difficult to put into the pot, but the second lobster had his claws vertically and it looked like he was ready to dive to his death (aww, sad):
Sumon’s dog, Tigger, wanted to get in on the action but he was afraid we were going to cook him next:
After all of the lobsters cooled down, we moved to the dining room and started removing the meat from the shell. By this time, Ariel and I were not as afraid to touch the lobsters:
To remove the lobster meat, Ariel and I first removed the head from the tail, then cut the tail in half (lengthwise). The tail was definitely the easiest, everything else was a little difficult since I only had kitchen scissors. The knuckles and claw shells were really tough, but with a good set of kitchen scissors, it wasn’t too difficult. Ariel worked really fast:
I had one injury; while removing the claw meat from the lobster, I accidentally cut myself (actually, the lobster cut me…for revenge).
All of the lobster meat:
Do NOT mess with Ariel…he will CUT you:
We added about 1/4 cup of Hellman’s mayonnaise to the lobster:
Originally, I wanted to make my own mayonnaise, but someone pointed out that just because it’s homemade doesn’t make it better. I also just forgot because I was busy making cobbler and french fries.
Gently incorporate the lobster meat with the mayonnaise and if you’d like, chop up some celery and add that in as well. I made the rolls without celery for the party, but the next day I made two with celery bits and it was also really delicious.
Set the lobster meat aside while you prepare the buns. One time at Pearl Oyster Bar, I noticed that they used Pepperidge Farm top cut hot dog buns, so I went to four grocery stores to find them. Luckily, Food Emporium in Union Square had a bunch. First, melt some unsalted butter in the microwave, then brush some butter on the inside of the hot dog buns and place them on a cookie sheet, inside faced-down:
I placed them in a 350 oven for about 5 minutes but watched them the entire time. Just make sure the buns are nicely toasted and not soggy from the butter (at least that’s how I like them).
After the buns are finished in the oven, spoon LOTS of lobster meat onto the buns:
Five lobster rolls and one tuna roll for Sumon:
All of us at dinner:
The lobster rolls were nothing short of amazing; the meat was VERY tender and the flavor was exceptional because of the court bouillon. I definitely want to make these this summer – they are labor intensive (if you don’t have the right materials for extracting the lobster meat), but they’re really delicious and definitely worth the hard work.
Tigger says, ta ta for now:
Have you ever made lobster rolls? Here’s my roundup of New York’s Best Lobster Rolls.