We Make a Lobster Roll for Simon Majumdar, Food Network’s “Toughest Critic”

While I was in Maine recently, I was approached and asked to make a lobster roll for Iron Chef judge, Simon Majumdar. Simon is on a culinary journey across the United States writing his book Fed White & Blue, which is about his edible journey to American citizenship. Not only is he one of the most brilliant culinary minds, but he is such a sweet, down to earth guy, and we had such a blast. Here’s how it all went down.

The day began with a lobster boat trip out of Rockland, Maine. Captain Eric and Jamey, the fish monger and lobsterman, took us out on a small dingy to a larger lobster boat. Once aboard the lobstering vessel, we did what any good lobsterman does; we all cracked open some beers and began chatting about how much we love lobster and how beautiful Maine is. The water was thankfully calm that day (I get sea sick), and we headed out into the Atlantic to go and pull up our lobster traps (Fun fact: it is legal in Maine to kill someone if they are caught messing with your lobster traps).

Simon pulled up one of the first traps and, thankfully, there was a lobster inside (the lobster didn’t know it yet, but he would later become our lobster roll). We learned all about lobstering and how to bait the traps and set them back in the water. After about 4 hours at sea, we had about 5 lobsters collected and decided to head back in to make a roll.

Once in the kitchen, Simon turned to me, lobster in hand, and asked me to make him our version of a lobster roll. After the initial panic of being asked by Food Network’s “toughest critic” to make a lobster roll passed, I got to work. I began by brushing the brioche hot dog bun with some melted butter and toasting both sides on a sizzle pan sitting on the grill. Then we steamed the lobster in about two inches of water. After our lobster was steamed, we opened the lobster and picked out all of the meat and chopped it into bite-sized pieces. We assembled our lobster roll by adding a little mayonnaise, diced celery, salt and pepper and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. All of this goodness was piled high onto our bun. I handed it to Simon and held my breath. After he took his first bite, his eyes said everything. It had passed inspection. Whew!

Want to make a lobster roll fit for an iron chef judge? Here are some key points to a better lobster roll.

  • Get the perfect bun – brioche hot dog buns are awesome
  • Take your lobster meat from the tail, knuckle and claws
  • Chop your lobster meat the right size – not too small
  • If you’re using Maine lobster, make it the star of the show and don’t drown your lobster in mayonnaise
  • Make sure your bun is lightly toasted on all sides and the middle is steamed and soft
  • Add a little diced celery, salt, pepper and some fresh lemon juice


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