If you think lobster rolls have to be cold and creamy, think again. Recipe developer Stephanie Rapone of Pantry to Plate explains how the Connecticut-style roll differs from one you might get in Maine — or somewhere else that’s big on lobster. "Connecticut-style lobster rolls are served warm with butter as the primary ‘dressing,’" she explains, adding that "Maine-style is typically cold with a mayonnaise-based dressing."
As for her favorite part? "I love that this lobster roll is still decadent, but without being heavy," Rapone shares. "I love fresh herbs, and using them with the lobster makes the whole thing fresher and brings a more interesting combination of flavors." Sounds tempting, doesn’t it? We have even better news: You don’t have to go to some fancy restaurant to order one. Just make them in the comfort of your own home, and the result is just as good, if not better.
Gather the ingredients for these Connecticut-style lobster rolls
To kick things off, make sure you’ve gathered all the proper ingredients. For this recipe, you’ll need cooked lobster meat, unsalted butter, lemon, sea salt, garlic powder, paprika, fresh tarragon, fresh chives, and two split-top New England-style buns.
Once you have those items, you can make these buttery Connecticut-style lobster rolls.
Prep the herbs and garnish
Grab the tarragon and chives and give them a good rinse. Use a paper towel to dry them and then give them a chop with a sharp knife. Keep the cutting board out and cut the lemon into quarters, then remove the seeds. "Tarragon is a special ingredient," Rapone notes. "It’s a really mild herb, which is one reason it’s a great partner to the delicate and sweet lobster."
Melt and clarify the butter
Grab a small saucepan and toss in the butter. Place the pan on your stove and turn the heat to low. Continue melting the butter until you see foam rising to the top. Once you’re there, you can turn off the heat. Next, carefully ladle the golden liquid into another small pot, making sure to leave behind the bottom ⅛ inch or so of liquid. That liquid is mostly water, and what you’re left with is clarified butter. Hold it warm over low heat.
Toast the rolls
Now that you’ve got your clarified butter, grab a skillet and heat it over medium-high. Use a pastry brush to brush some of the butter on the outside of the buns and grill on each side until they turn a nice, golden brown color and crisp up slightly.
Add the spices and lobster to the butter
To add even more flavor to your clarified butter, toss in some chopped tarragon, sea salt, garlic powder, and paprika. Then, you can add the lobster in and stir to coat the meat evenly. Be sure you don’t stir too much, because you don’t want to break up the lobster.
Place the lobster on rolls and serve
Grab the rolls and spoon in the lobster mixture. "New England-style buns can be hard to find outside of New England, but not impossible! You can definitely substitute a good quality hot dog bun," Rapone advises. "The bread is the same; it’s just that one is split on the side, and the other is split on top." Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a sprinkling of chopped chives and some more tarragon.
These rolls make a great solo offering, but Rapone shares a few of her favorite serving suggestions if you want to make it a more complete meal. "I like to keep the side dish light and fresh, especially in summer, like a tomato and cucumber salad with a red wine vinaigrette," Rapone says. She also shares that this is best enjoyed on the same day, as leftovers aren’t ideal in this case. We suspect that won’t be an issue.
- 1 bunch fresh tarragon
- 1 bunch fresh chives
- 1 lemon
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ pound lobster meat, cooked
- ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
- ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
- ⅛ teaspoon paprika
- 2 split-top (New England-style) buns
- Rinse and dry the tarragon and chives. Chop both and set aside. Cut the lemon into quarters and remove the seeds.
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat until foam begins to rise to the top. Skim the foam off. Turn off the heat. Carefully ladle out the golden liquid to a small-medium pot, discarding the bottom ⅛ inch or so of liquid (which is mostly water). What you’re left with is clarified butter. Hold it warm over low heat.
- Heat a skillet or griddle to medium-high heat. Using a pastry brush, brush some of the clarified butter on the outside of the buns. Grill on each side until lightly golden and crisp.
- To the pot with the clarified butter, add 1 teaspoon chopped tarragon, along with the sea salt, garlic powder, and paprika.
- Add the lobster to the warm butter and stir to coat evenly, being careful not to break it up too much.
- Spoon half of the lobster mixture into each roll, then top with a squeeze of fresh lemon and a sprinkling of chopped chives and tarragon.
- Serve immediately.