Everyone knows that the best thing to do with leftover lobster is make lobster salad. It’s so good, in fact, that when shopping for my annual Cape Cod lobster boil I always buy a couple extra crustaceans just to make sure there’ll be enough pickins for a lobster roll lunch the next day.
Served hot or cold, with creamy mayo or drawn butter, lobster rolls have captured New York foodies in their tasty clutches. Having partaken in a gut-busting lobster crawl across the island of Manhattan, I can tell you that I’m partial to Luke’s Lobster, which serves Maine style rolls – a butter-toasted bun piled with chunks of chilled claw and knuckle meat, topped with a light smear of mayo and a hit of their “secret” spice blend.
But for this year’s homemade version, what I really craved in a lobster roll was some smoke. Living in the city, I don’t get to grill nearly as much as I’d like, so why not give the seafood a little smoke bath? And since that char-grilled flavor evokes the classic surf-and-turf combo, perhaps tossing in some crisp hickory bacon would be nice. The result? Lobsters that tasted like everything they were cracked up to be!
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Smoky Surf-and-Turf Lobster Rolls
Two 1 ½ to 1 ¾ lb. whole, boiled lobsters (many seafood purveyors will prepare these for you), chilled
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
4 strips hickory smoked bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped chives
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon butter, at room temperature
4 soft rolls (such as, hamburger buns or potato rolls), split
Chipotle Tabasco, optional
Sliced tomatoes, optional
- Preheat a charcoal or gas grill over high heat. Working one at a time, place a lobster, belly-side-up, on a cutting board. Using a sharp chef’s knife, start at the head and cut firmly down the middle of the lobster, splitting it in half lengthwise.
- Place the lobster halves on the hot grates, flesh side down, and grill just until beginning to color, about 2 minutes. Flip and char the shells, about 2 minutes more. [Don’t leave lobsters on the grill for too long or the meat will overcook. The goal is to warm the meat through and give it some smoky flavor.]
- When cool enough to handle, pick the meat from the tails, claws, knuckles and body cavity. Toss the meat with the mayonnaise, lemon juice, bacon, celery and chives; season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Butter the cut sides of the rolls and toast on the grill. Top roll bottoms with lobster salad and a few dashes of Tabasco or tomato slices, as desired; close with roll tops.
More lobster rolls! For a classic lobster roll, or an Asian variation, try Lori’s.
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