The variations on the lobster roll have traditionally been dominated by New England and consist of lobster mixed with clarified butter or mayonnaise and stuffed into a deliciously buttery split top roll. I’ve decided that California, with it’s wide range of cultures and their delicious foods, needed to have its own version.
Chicharrones are an amazingly crunchy and mouth watering snack originating in Latina America and Mexico. I grew up munching on them as a kid, often topped with cream cheese. Don’t ask where that came from, just try it. It’s amazing.
My version of the famous lobster roll, aka ‘California Style’, is topped with crumbled chicharrones (similar to how you might find potato chips at certain lobster roll food trucks) and the lobster is grilled instead of steamed because we Californians love our grilling. It probably has to do with the nice weather or something. The crunchy, salty flavor adds an interesting and deliciously amazing component to the already scrumptious lobster roll that cannot be beat. I love pretty much any food that makes a good crunching sound, and in the case of chicharrones, they happen to taste amazing too. Try them for yourself and you’ll see what you’ve been missing out on all these years.
3 lbs of lobster tails (about 4 tails)
4 split top buns
3 tbsp soft butter
4 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 large handful chicharrones
1 tsp chopped tarragon
1/4 tsp pepper
Kitchen Tools: barbecue, kitchen shears, pastry brush, tongs
Preheat your grill to medium high heat. Butterfly your lobster tails by using your kitchen shears to snip through the top part of the shell down the center (this is the colorful part). Slice all the way from where the tail meets the body to right before the start of its little flippers (sorry, Mr. Lobster). Crack open the sides of the tail that you just cut to expose the meat, but be careful not to break all the way through the meat to the other side! You want to make it just open enough to expose the meat to the grill.
Melt 1 tbsp of your butter and brush it on the exposed lobster meat so that it doesn’t stick to the grill. Butter the inside of your split top rolls. Chop tarragon and mix with mayo, pepper and lemon juice. Crumble your chicharrones into a small bowl.
Place lobster meat side down on the grill and cook for 3 minutes with the lid closed. Flip and cook on the back side for 4 more minutes. Use your finger to gently poke the meat to see if it is cooked through. There should be a tiny bit of pink in the very center and the rest should be white. The lobster will continue to cook for another minute or so once you take it off the grill. Place your rolls butter side down on the grill for a few minutes just to melt the butter and get some light grill marks.
Remove lobster meat from tails and chunk it up. Mix it into the mayonnaise. Spoon a heaping portion into your buttered rolls and top with crumbled chicharrones. Dig in!