Sweet, succulent lobster piled high and spilling over a toasted split top roll, is there anything better? But do you know the difference between Maine vs. Connecticut lobster rolls? If you’re confused about the difference between the two main styles of lobster rolls, Maine and Connecticut, were here to clear up your questions.
Here is everything you need to know to tell the two most common lobster roll styles apart.
Getting lobster at home or at a restaurant is always a treat. So it’s important to make the right decisions when it comes to ingredients and preparation styles. If you don’t know whether to make or try a Maine or a Connecticut-style lobster roll, it’s time to let the confusion end here.
There are several major differences between these two popular styles of seafood sandwiches. From their origins and history to the ingredients and flavor, lets break down everything you need to know about the two camps of New England lobster rolls, including:
Maine Lobster Roll Overview
The main feature of a Maine-style lobster roll is that it’s served cold. Chunks of lobster meat are coated in a light dressing made with mayonnaise and seasoned with salt and pepper. Often, the salad on Connecticut-style rolls contains raw celery and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Importantly, though the lobster salad itself is served chilled, the roll it comes in is toasted to golden perfection and should be warm and crunchy.
The ingredients for a Maine lobster roll are simple and straightforward. The beauty of this recipe is that it lets the sweet, juicy lobster meat shine, thanks to a light dressing made with:
- Mayonnaise. Most traditional lobster roll recipes will specify Hellmans mayo.
- Celery. This is optional but makes a nice textural addition to the lobster salad. The celery should be finely diced.
- Lemon juice to thin out the dressing a bit and add a pop of acidity and brightness.
- Mustard. You just need a small amount of Dijon mustard to add a nice gentle spice to the lobster salad.
- Salt and pepper to season the lobster meat and dressing.
- Boston lettuce leaves to line the roll before you add the salad so your bread stays crisp, not soggy.
- Split top hot dog buns, which should be toasted in butter for the best flavor and structural integrity to hold up your weighty lobster meat. Split top buns have flat sides specifically for easier grilling on a hot skillet.
What Does a Maine Lobster Roll Taste Like?
The flavor of a Maine lobster roll is all about, well, the lobster. The dressing adds a slight creaminess and brightness, but you get plenty of sweetness from lobster meat and a bit of vegetal crunch from the celery.
What to Serve with a Maine Lobster Roll
The most classic combination is a Maine lobster roll with a side of warm and creamy clam chowder or seafood chowder. Other popular side dishes to serve Maine-style lobster rolls with include seafood shack classics like onion rings, salt and vinegar potato chips, coleslaw, and a fat dill pickle spear.
Connecticut Lobster Roll Overview
The hot and buttery foil to Maine’s chilled salad, the Connecticut roll is served dripping in a sauce of drawn butter. Like Maine-style rolls, the lobster salad sits atop a brown and toasted split-top hot dog bun or brioche roll.
To make a traditional Connecticut-style lobster roll, the first step is of course to start with premium lobster meat. Choose sweet and tender tail and lobster knuckle meat for the best combination of textures and flavors.
You only need a few simple ingredients to create the Connecticut-style dressing:
- Melted butter. In particular, you’ll want to use unsalted butter so as not to overwhelm the delicate seafood. That way, you can salt the lobster salad to taste.
- Lemon juice. Just like with a Maine-style roll, the lemon juice brightens things up and adds a hit of acidity to cut through the richness of butter.
- If you like, you can add a dash of paprika. It won’t add much heat, but many people like the subtle smokiness and depth from the red spice.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Hot dog buns or fluffy brioche rolls, toasted and hot.
What Does a Connecticut Lobster Roll Taste Like?
These hot lobster rolls are dripping in warm, savory drawn butter. This dressing highlights the sweetness of the lobster meat. And because the salad is served warm in the bun, the lobster in a Connecticut-style roll is a bit softer and more tender than a chilled Maine-style roll.
What to Serve with a Connecticut-Style Lobster Roll
To complete your classic New England seafood meal, serve your buttery hot lobster roll with a dill pickle and potato chips or fries. For extra heft, add a side of creamy chilled potato salad.
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