I'm a big believer in the "cook once, eat twice" school of thought. Because of my busy schedule, when I cook dinner, I often make enough food to be able to have leftovers the next day. But rather than serve the same dish two days in a row, I like to transform the leftovers into a completely different meal. For example, if you read my last post, you would know that I recently picked up some beautiful lobsters that were on sale at my local fish market and made a hearty pasta dish with them. But what I didn't mention was that I actually bought enough lobster to last for two meals. What did I do with the extra lobster meat? Well, I decided to make one of my favorite classic lobster dishes- New England lobster rolls.
I've had many lobster roll cravings- there's something about the sweet, tender lobster meat in the warm, buttery roll that gets me every time. Now I know that there's a lot of debate as to what the best lobster roll recipe is. Some purists simply put steamed lobster in a buttered, toasted bun with no mayonnaise or other accoutrements. I however, prefer my lobster rolls with a light coating of lemony mayonnaise, some finely chopped celery for crunch and Boston lettuce to keep the bun from getting soggy.
When making a dish with such few ingredients, it's really important to use the best quality ingredients. So, this afternoon, I decided to make my own mayonnaise. Once you know the technique, mayonnaise is actually not too difficult to make and the flavor and texture just can't be rivaled by the store-bought variety. In culinary school, making a good mayonnaise was actually part of our practical exams!
New England Lobster Rolls
Makes 4 servings
¼ cup homemade lemon chive mayonnaise (see recipe below) or other good quality mayonnaise
3 tablespoons finely chopped celery
Kosher salt and black pepper
4 top split hot dog buns
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 leaves Boston lettuce, sliced
Mix the lobster, mayonnaise, and celery together in a bowl. Season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Brush the inner and outer surfaces of the buns with butter. Open the buns up and toast them in the skillet until golden brown on both sides.
Arrange some lettuce on each bun and top with equal portions of the lobster mixture. Serve immediately with a cold beer on the side!
Lemon Chive Mayonnaise:
Makes 1 cup of mayonnaise
Tip: If you prefer a more neutral flavored mayonnaise, use 8 ounces of canola oil or other neutral-flavored oil. I like using a mixture of canola and olive oil because I like a hint of olive oil flavor but not so much that it overpowers the other components. I also like to add a small amount of Dijon mustard to my mayonnaise. I like the tangy flavor it imparts and because mustard is an emulsifying agent, it helps to hold the mayonnaise together. With any mayonnaise, the most important thing is to make sure you add the oil very slowly in the beginning, drop by drop while whisking constantly. If you don’t do this carefully, your mayonnaise will break. If you're pressed for time, you can make mayonnaise in a blender.
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 ½ teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
6 ounces canola or other neutral-flavored oil
2 ounces extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon room temperature water (optional)
2 teaspoons chopped chives
Place the egg yolk, mustard, lemon juice and salt in a large bowl and whisk together.
Mix the canola and olive oils together in a measuring cup. While constantly whisking the egg mixture in the bowl, slowly pour in the oil, drop by drop, until an emulsion forms.
Continue to whisk as you very slowly pour the oil into the bowl in a thin stream. If the mixture gets too thick, add the water to thin it out. Once about half of the oil is mixed in, you can pour the rest of the oil in a little faster.
When all of the oil is in, you should have a smooth mixture with a consistency slightly looser than store-bought mayonnaise.
At this point, taste the mayonnaise and season it to taste with salt and more lemon juice if desired. Stir in the chives. Store any extra mayonnaise in an airtight container in the refrigerator for no more than a few days.
* When using raw eggs in dishes, it is generally recommended to use pasteurized eggs. Pasteurization is a controlled process of heating food products to a specific temperature that destroys many microorganisms and reduces the possibility of food-borne illness.