Where Do Lobster Rolls Come From?
When it comes to iconic seafood delicacies, few can rival the exquisite appeal of a lobster roll. Originating from the coastal regions of North America, particularly New England, various types of lobster rolls have become a beloved symbol of summertime indulgence and coastal dining.
Nowadays, it is not uncommon to pay anywhere from $20 to $40 for a single lobster roll. However, did you know that during the early days of the American colonies, lobsters were referred to as the “poor man’s protein”? Lobsters were in such abundance, it was an easy way to eat well. One cup of cooked lobster meat contains about 128 calories, 0 grams of carbohydrates, 1.2 grams of fat, and 27 grams of protein. Low fat, high protein what’s not to love! What’s more, lobster meat has important vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin B12, zinc, selenium, and omega-3 fatty acids. All of these things may boost your overall well being.
Over time, the demand for lobster grew, leading to an increase in its market value. Factors such as commercialization, limited supply, and the rise of tourism in coastal regions contributed to the higher prices associated with lobster today. As a result, lobster became a symbol of luxury dining and special occasions.
Where Did Lobster Rolls Originate?
The rich history of the beloved lobster roll takes us back to the coastal town of Milford, Connecticut, where Perry’s restaurant earned the distinction of serving the first documented lobster roll in 1929. However, when it comes to tracing the origin of the lobster roll, Maine also is often cited as the origin.
Maine, with its bountiful lobster fisheries and thriving coastal culture, has become synonymous with this iconic seafood delicacy. While there is no single definitive “founder” of the lobster roll, Maine’s contribution to its evolution and widespread popularity cannot be overstated. The state’s longstanding lobstering tradition, dating back centuries, laid the foundation for the creation of this cherished dish.
From the traditional Maine style roll to the indulgent Connecticut style variation, join us as we delve into the allure of lobster rolls and unravel the secrets behind their timeless popularity.
Types of Lobsters
It is incredible to note that there are 75 distinct species of lobsters inhabiting the oceans. Among these remarkable crustaceans, a notable differentiation arises between those with large claws and those without. While around 30 species live in cold water and boast impressive claws, the remaining 40 species, commonly referred to as “spiny” or “rock” lobsters, lack these prominent appendages and are predominantly found in warmer waters.
Warm water lobsters are primarily found in regions with temperate to tropical waters, such as the Caribbean, Mediterranean, and parts of the Pacific Ocean. Harvested mainly off the coast of California, they fall into the category of large crawfish. What they may lack in claw prominence, they make up for with an abundance of delicious tail meat.
On the other side of the spectrum, we have cold water lobsters, which are often regarded as the pinnacle of lobster excellence. Cold water lobsters are predominantly found in the North Atlantic Ocean, ranging from New England and Eastern Canada to the chilly waters of Scandinavia. These lobsters possess the iconic set of large claws filled with yummy meat. The colder the water in which they reside, the sweeter their meat tends to be, making them a favorite among lobster aficionados.
Types of Lobster Rolls
Maine VS Connecticut Lobster Roll
The difference between Maine and Connecticut lobster rolls is pretty simple. One is served warm, and the other cold. And, they each have one major different ingredient.
The Maine style roll is served cold, with the lobster meat chopped, lightly seasoned, and mixed with mayonnaise. Importantly, the roll itself is toasted to perfection, warm, and delightfully crispy. It offers a delightful contrast between the warm bun and the chilled, creamy lobster salad, providing a burst of tangy flavor without overpowering the palate.
On the other hand, the Connecticut style lobster roll features only lobster meat sautéed in melted butter and served in a toasted roll. The warmth of the lobster in this roll makes it softer and more tender compared to the chilled Maine style roll.
Lobster Roll New England Style
The third and less common “classic” style of lobster roll is the New England Lobster Roll, also known as the “lobster salad roll.” The ingredients typically include mayo, celery and chives, and served on a bed of lettuce or leafy greens lining the bun. This type of lobster roll is served cold, similar to the Maine lobster roll. This type of lobster roll has gained popularity in regions of New York. In fact, you might hear this style referred to as a Manhattan style lobster roll, but don’t be fooled, it’s New England all day every day.
How Many Types of Lobster Rolls Are There?
There are three types of lobster rolls that are considered “classic”. The Maine, Connecticut and New England style. However, there are endless specialty types of lobster rolls out there as chefs around the U.S. and the world strive to put their own twist on this New England classic. Some examples are below.
Asian Inspired Lobster Roll
This variation has soy sauce, sesame oil, and sriracha into the lobster mixture. It is often served on a steamed or toasted bun with sliced scallions and toasted sesame seeds for an extra layer of complexity.
Lobster BLT Roll
This unique twist combines the beloved elements of a classic BLT sandwich. In addition to the lobster meat, the roll features crispy bacon, fresh lettuce, and juicy tomato slices. It also contains mayo and served on a toasted bun.
Lobster Avocado Roll
For avocado lovers, this variation adds a creamy and buttery component to the lobster roll. The lobster meat is mixed with diced avocado, lime juice, and a touch of cilantro. The roll is served chilled with a sprinkle of sea salt for a delightful contrast of flavors.
Lobster Taco Roll
Blending the flavors of a lobster roll with the format of a taco, this type of lobster roll offers a unique twist. The lobster meat is seasoned with spices like cumin, paprika, and chili powder, and served in a warm tortilla. It can be topped with salsa, guacamole, and shredded cheese.
Where to Find the Best Lobster Rolls In Seaside Heights
There are a surprising number of places to find a lobster roll in Seaside Heights. Most offer either a Maine or Connecticut version of the delight, but Mystic Lobster Roll Company offers all three classic rolls as well as many specialty rolls.
Lobster Rolls Near Seaside Heights
If you are willing to travel a bit beyond Seaside Heights in search of additional types of lobster rolls, check out one of these fine eateries. Most are within a 30 minute drive.
In conclusion, the lobster roll stands as a timeless symbol of coastal indulgence and culinary excellence. From its humble beginnings in Milford, Connecticut, to its association with the lobster-rich shores of Maine, this beloved seafood sandwich has captured the hearts and palates of food enthusiasts across the globe.
Whether enjoyed with a view of the ocean or savored in a cozy eatery, the lobster roll continues to delight and satisfy seafood lovers with its succulent meat, tantalizing flavors, and unmistakable coastal charm. So, dive into this gastronomic treasure and experience the sheer pleasure of indulging in a truly remarkable culinary delight – the lobster roll.