Wednesday, June 8, 2016
Lobster is THE food of Maine. At one time, lobster were considered trash fish. They were feed to prisoners who once filed a complaint that they were being served lobster twice a week. Oh, times and tastes change. Lobster is now a delicacy, used in many different ways in a wide variety of recipes. One of the simplest, and one that is often argued as how to best construct, is the lobster roll. The crew of Last Dance sampled many different ones in an attempt to accomplish the appropriate level of research. A most prolific researcher writes under the title of Lobster Gal.
Her journey through New England sampling lobster rolls has been years in the making. She began documenting the lobster rolls in a blog, which proved so popular that she picked the best 40 and published them in a book. Her blog is Lobster Gal
The lobster roll pictured at the beginning of this post is from the Lobster Wharf in Boothbay Harbor. It follows the norm by being served on a New England hot dog bun, which has flat sides that can be grilled to a toasty, crispy brown. This lobster mixture is one with mayonnaise, which seems to be the most popular. For size, it is obvious that an ample amount of lobster has been stuffed into the bun. When the Lobster Gal visited the Lobster Wharf, she ordered the jumbo, with even more lobster meat than the one pictured above. Her companion ordered the two lobster dinner. After extracting the meat from the two lobsters, she found that it weighed less than the meat in the lobster roll. (Yes, she weighs every lobster roll for comparison.)
While on Isle au Haut, the Last Dance crew purchased some New England hot dog rolls at the tiny general store in order to properly construct lobster rolls aboard.
Also located in Boothbay is the tiny restaurant Shannon's Unshelled. Shannon is an elementary school teacher who decided to create her own summer job by constructing a restaurant. She purchased two parking places in downtown, bought building materials and had a friend help with construction, plied through all the required permitting and licensing requirements, and is in the second year of a successful operation.
Shannon's lobster roll was made with a butter sauce on the lobster, resulting in a sweeter flavor, rather than tangy mayo. There is the traditional New England roll under all that beautiful lobster meat.
On the north shore of the harbor at Belfast is Young's Lobster Pound. This is a true lobster pound, where lobstermen bring their catch to sell. They also operate a restaurant on site.
The building is filled with large tanks full of live lobsters. Historically, an area of a bay was walled off to store lobsters. This area was known as a pound. The term followed to the now inside lobster tanks.
Young's lobster roll differed in that it was served on a hamburger bun with lettuce. A mayo-based recipe was used. Also pictured is their lobster salad.
It is not just the little restaurants along Maine's waterways and highways that serve lobster in a bun, even the high-end restaurants deliver their chef-prepared rolls. The Asticou Inn, located in the posh neighborhood of Northeast Harbor, has a lobster roll. Their chef chooses the New England roll, mayo, and a lettuce leaf.
Of course, if you have spent endless days researching the perfect lobster roll and would like a change of pace, the Asticou Inn will provide other ways to enjoy this famous water bug. How about a lobster bisque with a side of fresh, hot-from-the-oven popover.
Ah! Sitting on the back deck of a four-star inn, overlooking Northeast Harbor, enjoying a lobster roll preceded by a bit of lobster bisque - research is tough, but somebody has to do it.