Guest Post & Recipe: CJ Hauser’s Lobster Rolls
Today’s guest post comes from CJ Hauser, author of the The From-Aways, an irreverent story of family, love, friendship, and lobsters set in Maine. Try out her family recipe for lobster rolls and dive into her debut novel-
a perfect summer pairing!
Mine is the sort of family that celebrates with seafood. Birthdays, special occasions, and even, once, a whole life.
We shucked oysters on the back steps the summer my sister graduated college, found a tiny crab living inside one, and laughed about it for hours. A good omen, we thought. We cooked two-dozen lobsters in the backyard the day my father turned fifty and gathered most of the family to eat them. When he was sick, the story goes that my dad’s dad became dismayed that he would miss his own wake— he imagined it would feature good food and drink and people telling nice stories about him. So they moved the wake up so he could attend and dug a seaweed pit on the beach. They called it: The Pre-Wake Clambake.
And so, when I started writing The From-Aways, it only seemed natural that Leah Lynch, one of the narrators, would try to celebrate her arrival in Menamon, Maine with a lobster boil. She fails epically, but you’ll find out about that soon enough.
It’s not really that hard to cook a lobster. 8 to 12 minutes in a boiling pot is all it takes. Cracked, hot with butter is wonderful, but a good lobster roll on a summer day is my favorite. Here’s my mother’s recipe for lobster rolls, the one I use to this day.
(3 half-pound lobsters make about 5 rolls…but in my family, we like a generous roll, and have even been known to use a one-to-one lobster to roll ratio)
Hot Dog Rolls
Optional: fresh basil, paprika, roe
- Boil the lobsters in a non-traumatic way for about 8 to 12 minutes, or until bright red. Remove from the pot and after they’ve sufficiently cooled, crack and remove the meat. Place the meat in a large bowl. Tear the meat into small chunks.
- Add several scant tablespoons of mayo to the bowl and mix with your fingers so that the mayo lightly coats the chunks of lobster meat. If you are the sort of cook that the author’s mother is, you will speak to your lobster as you do this: That’s right! There we go! That’s the ticket! This is understood to improve flavor and integration. DO NOT overdress … just enough mayo to lightly coat the lobster meat is sufficient!
- Add the juice of one (or 1/2) lemon depending on how much lobster you’re using—don’t let any seeds sneak in. Slice two to four ribs of celery (again, depending on how much lobster) crosswise, then halve each slice and add to the bowl
- Add celery salt to taste. Be sure to add all components gradually and taste as you go so you don’t over salt.
- Scoop the lobster mixture on toasted hot dog rolls. Some people like to add a tiny bit of fresh shredded basil and a sprinkle of paprika, if that kind of thing is your kind of thing. This is not traditional, but it can be delicious. This is, of course, up to you.…
- If you are lucky enough to get a lady lobster with red roe inside, crumble the roe over the rolls as garnish and serve.