There’s something of a crunch when you bite into one of these long, submarine-like things. If it’s warm, it might be the bun – a sort of buttered toastiness that lends its slight warmth to you.
On second thought, it could be the filling itself that makes a sound only you can hear in your own head. That creamily savoury stuff that’s slightly resistant to the bite of your teeth. It brings a hint of the sea to you.
Whatever it is, there’s nothing like a lobster roll, especially when you’re sitting pier side with a bottle of craft beer in New England.
Lobster rolls aren’t a summer exclusive, but they do seem to be popular in the summer. For people like me, baking under a cloudless blue sky brings back painful memories of endless sweating in a uniform with a heavy field pack on my back and a tremendous amount of yelling.
However, the near ubiquitous passion that New England possesses for the lobster roll seems to be affecting me in positive ways. I find myself lounging on wooden decks, sea breeze in my face. Beer in one hand, lobster roll in the other. A summer memory forged with a bite, followed by a fizzy swig of ale.
The lobster roll is a contrast. The bread tends to be warm and toasty, but the lobster is always served at a refreshingly cold temperature. The bun is ridiculously simple, usually just a hot dog bun or a baguette. This simplicity is opposed by the relative complexity of the filling’s mix of claw, tail and knuckle meat that’s generously doused with mayonnaise. This contrast doesn’t jar the senses, but brings a balance that you end up craving more for.
Perhaps, then, this is the real reason why the lobster roll is so well-loved. It’s kind of luxurious, but not ostentatious. The dish doesn’t demand attention the way a fully steamed lobster does, but it commands the tastebuds anyway.
The lobster roll is not that elusive summer memory you never get to relive again, it’s the one never fades away.