A lobster roll for tough economic times

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

In tough economic times, it would seem somehow rude to run a recipe for lobster rolls, that pricey joy of summer seaside dining.

But that doesn't mean the cravings don't hit. So I set out to create a lobster roll that was delicious, meaty, overstuffed and affordable.

The easy approach would be to use imitation lobster, a refrigerated processed seafood product made from a mash of fish. Also called surimi and available as crab, lobster and other shellfish, the imitation meat is affordable (about $7 a pound) and the taste is acceptable.

Though prices fluctuate, real lobster can run around $7 a pound, too. But there's a catch. Of that pound, only about a quarter of the weight is edible meat. Which means the real cost of a pound of lobster meat is about $30.

My recipe uses half a pound of each (two whole 1-pound lobsters provide 1/2 pound of meat), keeping the taste authentic and satisfying. The total cost for six large lobster rolls is just under $19, or about $3 per roll.

Recession Lobster Rolls

Start to finish: 20 minutes

Servings: 6

6 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon cider vinegar

2 ribs celery, finely diced

2 Peppadew peppers, finely diced

Tail and claw meat from two 1-pound lobsters, cut into bite-size chunks

8-ounce package imitation lobster meat

2 tablespoons butter

6 hot dog buns

In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, pepper, salt, paprika and vinegar. Mix in the celery and Peppadews.

Add the lobster and imitation lobster to the bowl and mix to coat. Set aside.

In a large skillet over medium, melt the butter. Add the buns and toast on one side until just lightly browned, then turn and toast on the second side.

Divide the lobster mixture between the buns, piling the lobster generously into each.

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