Dan Richardson’s Lobster roll

I have long been hoping my excellent Jersey Bean chum Dan Richardson would contribute content to my organ; he is a charming, erudite fellow who knows the importance of having fun with nice things. His Tweets about lobster roll were so ecstatic I easily convinced him that People Need To Know. So over to Dan to enlighten us about this wizard weasel food:

Dan Richardson's lobster rollIt will come as no surprise to regular readers of Elitistreview that Jersey’s lobsters are amongst the finest crustacae on earth. As with Jersey beef, whose flavour is hard to match thanks to its delicious yellow fat, lobsters caught in Jersey’s waters are simply the nuts. Lesser lobsters, such as those served at the two outposts of London’s Burger & Lobster (and which are imported all the way from the flavourless waters of the north-western Atlantic), pale in comparison. To make things even better, such is the ready availability of the humble Jersey lobster (for let us not forget that lobster was once ‘peasant food’) that the price is nothing if not affordable: a decent sized lobster will set you back around £11-14.

If you are ever in Jersey (and if you haven’t visited, you really must; to borrow from Bill Bryson, take my car), you could do far worse than to pay a visit to the Fresh Fish Company, which can be found on the Victoria Pier in St Helier. There, Louis and Victoria Jackson, who have been supplying many of London’s starred restaurants with their seafood for years, will happily grant whichever fishy wish your heart desires. It won’t cost the earth, either[ref]Half a lobster set me back £5.50. Between two, therefore, the total cost of each roll came to about £4. By comparison, the lobster roll on offer at “bargain” lobster joint Burger & Lobster costs £20. One really shouldn’t eat shellfish in restaurants; it’s a con.[/ref].

A lobster roll not only makes for a deliciously decadent lunch, but also provides an excellent means of disposing with any lobster left over from a home-made fruits de mer. Hawksmoor at Home, the only cookbook you will ever need, recommends using a whole lobster per roll (i.e. per person). This is preposterous, and wasteful. I can only assume either that i) the lobster that they source are pathetically, embarrassingly small; or ii) they do not know how to properly pick all the meat that a decent sized lobbie has to offer. Half a lobster happily provided the requisite meat for two rolls, and made for a hearty lunch for myself and a friend.

Begin by melting a healthy quantity of lightly salted butter in a small pan. Meanwhile, crush six medium-sized cloves of garlic, and stir into the melted butter over a low heat, making sure not to burn either the garlic or the butter. Taste, season, and set aside. (Be sure to make more than you need: it’s a wonderful thing to have in one’s fridge.)

Remove the tail and claw meat from the lobster. Using a crab-pick (or small fork or other such instrument), carefully and thoroughly remove any and all remaining meat from the shell, making sure not to miss all the good stuff in the knuckles and head-space (i.e. brain). (If you’re lucky, there will be some delicious lobster roe that you can also add to the mix.) Roughly chop the lobster meat, season, and throw everything into a mixing bowl. Add a generous amount of the garlic butter, and mix together with some chives, parsley and any other fresh herbs that take your fancy.

Finally, take a couple of slices of brioche (Hawksmoor serve theirs in a hot dog bun, but I prefer brioche), brush one side with the garlic butter, and fry butter-side down until golden brown. Add the lobster mix and the other slice of the brioche, brush again with garlic butter, and place in a hot oven for five minutes, or until the lobster is warmed through. Serve with triple cooked chips, a garden salad, and a wedge of lemon.

With our rolls, we drank Kevin Judd’s delicious Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc. A good, crisp Riesling, such as Thomas Haag’s 2010 Kabinett (a.k.a. “The Best Value Wine in the World”, available from the wonderful Howard Ripley) would work equally well.

The Fresh Fish Company can be found here: http://thefreshfishcompany.co.uk/

I can be found here: http://danrichardson.blogspot.com or, if you’re into that sort of thing, on Twitter @ouennais.

  •  Just to add my thoughts on matching booze. I think lobster rolls deserve something quite spiffy to match the rich, complex flavours of the lobster. Fancy white Burgundy, top Chablis or a damned good Mosel-Saar-Ruwer Spatlese.

    I ate a lot of lobster rolls in New York City and generally had Sierra Nevada Pale Ale with them – it was a good match.

  • Tom Blach

    I wonder if they’d send me some of their lobster? I love the stuff and agree entirely that those flown across the Atlantic are a shadow of what they should be but good ones do seem to become fairly prohibitive once they get to London.

  • Dan Richardson

    Tom, I believe they will send you some lobster if you ask. I’m not sure whether you have to order a certain quantity, however.