Sous Vide Maine-Style Lobster Rolls
J. Kenji López-Alt is the Managing Culinary Director of Serious Eats, author of the James Beard Award-nominated column The Food Lab, and a columnist for Cooking Light. He lives in San Francisco. A New York native, Kenji cut his cooking chops the old-fashioned way by wo ...
Have you experienced the magic of sous vide lobster yet? You have? You've noted how that sweet lobster flavor gets concentrated, while butter works its way into all the cracks and crevices of the meat? You've savored the tender, succulent texture? Good. Then it's time to take the logical next step. Lobster rolls may not be very fancy, but there's no better way to experience lobster in its simple, briny, sweet, buttery glory than stuffed into a top-split hot dog bun that's been griddled in butter until golden brown. Seriously. There's no better way, and I'll fight you on this one.
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Ingredients for 4
2 whole live lobsters, about 1 1/2 pounds each. If you can not get live lobsters, frozen lobster tails will work as well. Serve 1 1/2 to 2 lobster tails per person, depending on the size of the tails.
4 tablespoons (60g) unsalted butter
2 sprigs fresh tarragon
Lemon wedges, for serving
4 hot dog buns, preferably top-split
Up to 2 tablespoons (30ml) mayonnaise
1 rib celery, finely diced
1 tablespoon (7g) minced fresh chives and/or tarragon
Fresh juice of 1 lemon, to taste
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste (optional)
Set Anova Sous Vide Precision Cooker to desired temp from drop down menu.
Kill each lobster by plunging a knife directly into its head, splitting its carapace in half. Twist off the tail and claws. Discard carapace or save for stock.
Lay tails flat against a cutting board and insert two stiff wooden or metal skewers along the length of the tails, keeping as close to the shell as possible.
Prepare an ice bath. Bring a large pot of water or a steamer to a rolling boil. Add lobster tails and claws and cook for 1 minute. Remove tails with tongs and transfer to ice bath. Continue cooking claws for 4 minutes longer, then transfer to ice bath.
Shuck lobster tails by first squeezing sides of shell inward until they crack. Pull sides of shell outward. The shell should open up easily. Remove tail meat and set aside.
To remove claw meat, break off the small pincer, being careful to get the meat out of it. Using kitchen shears or the spine of a heavy knife, crack bottom of shell to create an opening large enough to extract the meat. Carefully remove claw meat by shaking shell up and down, or by using the back of a wooden skewer to slide it out.
To remove knuckle meat, snip open shells with kitchen shears and use the back of a wooden skewer to remove meat. If knuckles are especially spiky, use a kitchen towel to help grasp them.
Place meat in a heavy-duty zipper-lock bag or a vacuum bag. Add 2 tablespoons (30g) butter and tarragon sprigs. Remove all air from bag using the water displacement method or a vacuum sealer.
Add bagged meat to water bath and cook for at least 20 minutes and up to 1 hour.
Build Lobster Rolls
Heat butter in a large skillet or on a griddle over medium heat until foaming subsides. Add hot dog buns, with exposed crumbs down, and griddle until golden brown. Flip and griddle second side. Transfer to a serving platter.
Discard any herbs from sous vide lobster bag. Remove lobster meat from bag and chop into large bite-size pieces. Transfer to a large bowl. Add mayonnaise to taste, celery, and chives or tarragon. Add lemon juice to taste and toss to combine. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if needed. (Sous vide lobster is typically well seasoned even without additional salt.) Divide mixture evenly between hot dog buns and serve.