The Best Summer Sandwich

An upper-crust seafood sandwich gets democratic (Plus: How to make your own Baja lobster roll)

lobster lobster roll ditch plains Cincinnati senate senate chicago Little Market American Brasseri

    Photo: Misha Gravenor

Lobster prices have always ebbed and flowed, but mostly they’ve stayed high enough to make the lobster roll, summer’s most delicious seaside fare, a rarefied treat. No more. Thanks to record catches in the past two years, wholesale prices for the bugs have dropped by more than 15 percent, making it easier for innovative chefs from Maine to the Midwest to experiment with the sandwich. In New York City, the West Village eatery Ditch Plains has a Lobster Ditch Dog, a wiener topped with lobster mac and cheese. At Cincinnati’s Senate restaurant there’s a lobster BLT. And in Chicago, at Little Market American Brasserie, there’s chef Ryan Poli’s Baja Lobster Roll (pictured here), Maine lobster meat tossed with shallots and lemon vinaigrette, then topped with a chipotle-mayo slaw.

What’s with the abundance of lobsters? It’s the culmination of decades of smart conservation efforts, like strict size limits, that have created one of the most sustainable fisheries in the U.S. “We’ve had a strong plan in place for over 100 years,” says Patrice McCarron, executive director of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association. “In some ways, we’ve been a victim of our own success.” We’ll eat to that.

Want to make your own lobster rolls? Try this delicious recipe from the Little Market American Brasserie:

BAJA LOBSTER ROLL (makes two sandwiches)
Chipotle, cabbage slaw, lemon

CHIPOTLE MAYO
1 piece chipotle pepper in adobo
1 egg yolk
½ tbsp. lemon juice
1/8 cup water
1 cup canola oil

Procedure:
1. In a blender, combine chipotle, egg, lemon juice, and water, blend till smooth
2. Slowly add oil on medium speed
3. Adjust seasoning

SLAW
1/8 of a head Napa cabbage, shredded
1/8 of a head read cabbage, shredded
1 small carrot, julienned

LEMON VINAIGRETTE
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
½ shallot, minced
6 tbsp. canola oil

Procedure:

1. Combine first lemon juice, white wine vinegar and shallots
2. Slowly emulsify oil with a blender
3. Adjust seasoning

FOR THE ROLL
2 New England style lobster rolls
½ tsp. chopped tarragon
½ tsp. minced shallot
4 oz. cleaned, chopped, fresh Main lobster meat
¼ cup of the mixed slaw
2 tbsp. chipotle mayo
1 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. lemon vinaigrette
pinch of salt

Procedure:
1. Butter the cut ends of the roll and griddle till golden brown
2. Mix the slaw with the chipotle mayo, honey and salt
3. Mix the lobster with shallot, tarragon, lemon vinaigrette and salt
4. Slice open the griddle bun, making sure not to slice all the way through
5. Fill with the slaw first and place the lobster mix on top

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