Lobsters are on a roll

Sandwich sales climb, but have you had the hot version?

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Lobster is a rich man's food, true, which may be why it tastes so extraordinarily good piled into a humble hot dog roll. This New England specialty appears on 2 percent of menus nationwide where sandwiches are offered, according to a recent report by Nation's Restaurant News, but sales of lobster rolls "have grown steadily and appear on 52 percent more menus than just four years ago."

Most people think of these sandwiches as a cold, lobster salad in a bun, but Connecticut folk, including me, also know lobster rolls can be served hot and buttery inside a toasted, butter-brushed roll.

This recipe from Brooke Dojny's "Lobster! 55 Fresh & Simple Recipes for Everyday Eating" (Storey, $14.95) calls for 2 cups of cooked lobster meat. Buy it picked out, writes Dojny, a resident of Sedgwick, Maine, and a columnist for the Portland Press Herald. Or cook two 11/4-pound hard-shell lobsters or three 1-pound soft-shells (available in the summer) and remove the meat yourself. She recommends serving cole slaw and potato chips on the side.

Lobster rolls are traditionally served in top-split New England-style buns. If you can find 'em, fine. If not, improvise.

"Any soft (not hard) roll will do in a pinch, and you can butter-griddle the crust sides or the crustless sides," Dojny wrote in an email. "The main thing (is) to add some buttery, toasty flavor and texture to the finished roll."

Hot lobster rolls

Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:
6 tablespoons butter
4 top-split rolls
2 cups cooked lobster meat, cut or torn into 1- to 2-inch pieces
Lemon wedges

1. Melt butter in a medium-large skillet. Heat a cast-iron griddle or a second skillet over medium heat. Brush the crustless sides of the rolls with some of the melted butter. Cook on the griddle, turning once, until both sides are golden brown, about 2 minutes per side.

2. Toss the lobster meat with the remaining melted butter in the first skillet over medium heat just until warm, about 1 minute. Spoon the buttered lobster meat into the rolls; garnish with a lemon wedge.

Nutrition information:
Per serving: 347 calories, 20 g fat, 11 g saturated fat, 152 mg cholesterol, 24 g carbohydrates, 18 g protein, 605 mg sodium, 1 g fiber.

wdaley@tribune.com
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