Six O’Clock Solution: Lobster-roll seafood snack can be served hot or cold

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After the fancy or formal food of Christmas, the holidays are a time for relaxing with something casual, like a lobster roll.

Andrew Rea’s third cookbook, Basics With Babish (Simon and Schuster, $50) offers a hot and cold version of the seafood snack, his tips absorbed with how to prepare the lobster. Rea, known for his YouTube cuisine, has the benefit of photographs of his more than 100 recipes by Evan Sung.

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Lobster rolls

Serves 4

Kosher or coarse salt

Freshly ground pepper

4 shell-on lobster tails, about 8 ounces/250 g each, total 1-1/2 pounds/750 g cooked lobster meat

4 hot dog buns

About 1/3 cup (75 mL) mayonnaise

1/3 cup (75 mL) thinly sliced celery stalks

3 tablespoons (45 mL) chopped fresh chives

1 tablespoon (15 mL) each chopped fresh dill and fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons (10 mL) white wine vinegar

3 tablespoons (45 mL) unsalted butter, melted

Hot sauce to taste

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You may use precooked lobster meat. If using fresh lobster meat, bring to a boil over high heat a large pot two-thirds full of water and 1 tablespoon (15 mL) salt. Have ready a large bowl of ice water.

Add lobster tails to the boiling water, lowering heat to medium-low. Lobster is cooked when shells turn bright red and meat has an internal temperature of 140 degrees F (60 C), 5 to 8 minutes.

Transfer lobster to ice water and let cool 2 to 3 minutes. Remove shells. Discard dark-coloured digestive tract. Cut meat in small pieces and set aside in a medium bowl.

Slice buns open and brush each with a couple of teaspoons (10 mL) of the mayonnaise. Toast buns, mayonnaise side down, in a hot frying pan over medium-low heat until lightly browned and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes.

Add remaining mayonnaise to the lobster, along with the celery, chives, dill, lemon juice, vinegar, melted butter and a dash of hot sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper and combine ingredients with a spatula.

Fill hot buns with lobster mixture and more chopped chives and serve at once.

For hot rolls: Heat lobster meat mixture in 2 tablespoons (30 mL) melted butter in a heated frying pan, just until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 6 tablespoons (90 mL) butter and toss, shaking the bowl, until lobster is coated in what looks like a creamy sauce, 1 to 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Fill buns with an equal amount of the lobster mixture, plus a squeeze of lemon juice and some chopped chives. Serve at once.

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