Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Just Roll With It

You probably have already realized this, but if you haven't, I feel I should come clean about a few things. First of all, there has been a frightening paucity of actual cooking going on in my house, which is hilarious, given that I supposedly live for it...well, that and the eating part. And second, my heart and mind have a severe eastward bearing, as if there is a giant magnet pulling me along. These two things, coupled with a ridiculous baseball schedule (yes we are STILL playing and I get to be at the baseball field for five (5!!) hours tonight), make for some interesting dinner preparations.

So tonight, to continue on my path of actual non-cooking, and my Cape Cod mentality, I will be making lobster rolls to take along to the ball games. Those frozen langostino tails I have told you about from Trader Joe's are actually pretty good. Tender, not at all fishy, and quite lobster-esque in flavor, they will hopefully help satisfy my yen until I can eat an actual lobster, in about a month (hopefully).

Disturbingly, the west coast fails to appreciate the beauty that is the top split hot dog bun, which I have come to love. Instead we must make due with the ones that are slit through the side, or pay a dollar each for unsliced buns from Bristol Farms. Each year at the end of the summer, I stock up on a few bags of top split buns, and hope they make it home relatively undamaged. There they wait in the freezer and are whipped out whenever I need a taste of my home away from home. The flavor is exactly the same, but the east coast kind have nice tall sides that can be toasted in butter, which is an essential component of a good lobster roll. These toast okay too, but instead of having crisp sides, as is usual, you get a crisp buttery top and bottom. We'll suffer through it.

Though there are many variations on the classic, I prefer them prepared simply. Mayonnaise, slivers of celery and a pinch of salt and pepper are all you really need. If I'm feeling really crazy, I might throw in a chopped green onion or some fresh dill, but usually I'm not. And the lobster should be a good mix of tail and claw meat, not left in huge chunks, but not chopped up small either. I will make a real version for you this summer. But for now, the langostino tales and side split buns will have to make do. If I close my eyes, I might be able to imagine that I am eating the real thing, and instead of sitting at my sons' little league games, I'm sitting at the high school ball field watching some good Cape League baseball. Go Y-D Red Sox!

P.S. I apologize in advance for the increasing frequency of postings about Cape Cod. It is only going to get worse...just wanted to give you the heads up!

Makeshift (or Desperate Times) Lobster Roll
makes 4

Melt some butter (1 T) in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add the buns (4) and brown on each side. Toss 12 ounces of thawed langostino tails (or cooked lobster or cooked chopped shrimp) with 1/2 C mayonnaise, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, 1 stalk of slivered celery, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Open bun and add a layer of baby lettuce. Pile in langostino salad and carefully wrap in parchment paper. Bring along to your sons' baseball games and close your eyes as you eat it. You just might be able to imagine you are eating the real thing somewhere where the real thing is served. Relax and smile. You'll be there soon enough.


Ann @ Cooking the Books said...

Oh, I LOVE lobster rolls. But where do you stand on the debate between cold mayonnaise-y vs. warm and buttery?

Alison said...

Excellent question. When I am eating them right away, I prefer the bun to be warm and buttery and quite enjoy the contrast between it and the cold crisp lettuce and lobster salad inside. When I pack them to go, I let the buns cool to room temp before I fill them, then put plenty of lettuce in the bottom to help prevent the sog. Packed on ice, they will last a while, but we eat them as soon as we can. I certainly wouldn't wait several hours.