It’s hard to believe but this is the first lobster recipe to grace this blog. I know, it doesn’t seem right. As a Maritimer, I’m sure you expected more from me. But alas, in the span of 3 years of blogging, today’s Deconstructed Lobster Roll Salad is all I could muster. Now, there is a slew of good reasons for this glaring oversight and I will tell you more about them than you’d ever care to know. But first, I feel I must address the use of the word “deconstructed”. Am I aware that it makes me sound like a pretentious ass? Yes, yes I am. But I could see no other alternative. “Deconstructed” is the most accurate description for this salad. Does it take the edge off to know there are cut up hot dog buns in this dish? Am I more familiar to you now?Jump to Recipe
So, now that I’ve reassured you of my sustained less-than-classy status, let’s get to the reasoning behind my lobster-anemic site. Reason # 1 – I don’t really buy lobster in Toronto. It’s too expensive for what you get. I always gorge myself on the stuff when I’m visiting family back in NS but here, not so much. The tails featured in today’s Deconstructed Lobster Roll Salad were on mega sale, so they were easier to plunk into my grocery basket.
Reason #2 – Never have I ever ordered lobster in a restaurant. Well, I suppose that’s not entirely true. I can recall a round of lobster spring rolls I had at the Wild Caraway and I’m sure I’ve crossed paths with a resto-prepared lobster Mac & Cheese once or twice. But I’ve never ordered a lobster dinner or a surf n’ turf situation at Red Lobster or something. Now, I’m sure it’s no surprise that I gather a lot of inspiration from my experiences dining out. And more often than not, lobster is not part of those experiences. So, when I come back from a restaurant with a note pad full of ideas, lobster is the farthest thing from my mind.
Reason # 3 – For me, the enjoyment of lobster is as much about context as it is about flavor. This sea bug and I go way back, so there is a hefty amount of nostalgia attached to it. When I was a kid, lobster dinners were life. We always ate our lobster dinners at my family’s farm on picnic tables covered in newspaper with nothing more than butter for dipping and an unreasonable amount of potato salad. The thought of enjoying good lobster any other way runs the risk of being nothing more than a letdown. And when it comes to lobster, I’m extremely risk-averse. But here we are with this Deconstructed Lobster Roll Salad in hand. I must’ve moved pass one or all of my lobster-related hang-ups. But who can be sure?
But enough about why I don’t include lobster in my everyday life. Let’s talk about why I took the plunge in the name of this Deconstructed Lobster Roll Salad. Well, I mean, look at it. It looks freaking delicious. And speaking as the soul person who ate it (Bae does not do lobster), I can say it is freakin’ delicious. And for something that has hot dog bun croutons in it, it still looks fancy af.
Now, you might be asking why I made croutons out of hot dog buns and to that I would say, you need to get yourself a legit lobster roll stat. The bun is central to the lobster roll and as far as I can tell the real deal bun doesn’t exist in Ontario.
In Nova Scotia, our hot dog buns have a split at the top rather than the side. Apparently, they’re called New England-Style hot dog buns, but I didn’t know that until five minutes ago. They were just hot dog buns to me growing up. This top loading bun is genius because it leaves two exposed fluffy sides ripe for the toasting. But since these “New England” buns are hard to come by here, I converted the side split buns I could find into buttery croutons. You can, of course, deploy fancier croutons if you wish. But for the true bluenoser experience, only a soft hot dog bun will do.
Now, for the inauthentic portion of this salad: the dressing. I whipped up a lemon mayo dressing accented with fresh garlic, dill, and tarragon. There are some lobster roll purists who would not support a move like that. Not one bit. The lemon and the mayo, sure. But the dill? The tarragon?! That would be just too much for them. Most people believe that the simpler a lobster roll is the better it is. And I do love the sentiment behind this opinion. I too – although it may not seem to be the case all the time – value the deliciousness of simplicity. But, come on, tarragon is delicious and rules were made to be broken.
I went off the beaten track when it came to the greens as well. Butter lettuce is common particularly in the rolls that hail from New England, but I’m fairly certain escarole is not a common addition. But I used it in this salad for that all important hit of bitterness. Lobster is such a sweet meat that it could do with a bit of bitter green for contrast. Did I make a salad that all Maritimers would sign off on? Maybe not. But did I make a delicious salad? You bet your ass I did.
So, that’s everything you need to know about this Deconstructed Lobster Roll Salad. If you can get past the “inauthenticity” this salad will reward you tenfold.
Deconstructed Lobster Roll Salad
- 2 uncooked lobster tails
- 1/2 cup mayo
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 lemon juiced
- 2 tbsp fresh dill finely chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh tarragon finely chopped
- 3 hot dog buns cubed
- 2 tbsp butter melted
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 head red butter lettuce washed and coarsely chopped
- 1/4 head escarole washed and coarsely chopped
- Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Salt the water liberally and add the lobster tails. Cook for 3-5 minutes.
- Take the lobster tails out of the pot and plunge them into an ice bath to stop the cooking process.
- Once the tails are cool enough to handle, split each tail in half lengthwise. Pry the lobster meat out of the shells and set aside. Discard the shells.
- In a medium-sized bowl whisk to combine the mayo, lemon juice, garlic, dill, and tarragon. Set aside.
- Place the hot dog bun pieces in a large bowl and pour the butter over top. Add the salt and toss to coat. Transfer the hot dog bun pieces to a cast iron skillet and place over medium heat. Toast the bun pieces until golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer the pan to a 150°F oven to keep warm.
- Divide the lettuce and escarole amongst two large plates. Place two pieces of the lobster tail on top followed by a handful of the warm hot dog croutons. Drizzle the mayo mixture over top and serve immediately with a glass of white wine.