These Lobster Salad Rolls with Tarragon and Lemon are a classic lobster roll with a twist! Sweet lobster is lightly dressed in an lemon and tarragon mayo, and then nestled into garlic butter buns.
Lobster Salad Rolls
Every time I make a new lobster recipe, I immediately deem it the best dish I’ve ever made. Forget this blueberry butter cookie gelato, this thai butternut ramen or this mushrooms lasagna, because lobster trumps EVERYTHING.
This wasn’t always the case since I’ve only recently become a lobster aficionado, due to one life-changing dish of fresh-from-the-sea lobster spaghetti Kevin and I gorged on in a picturesque setting in Santorini almost exactly one year ago.
Previously I’d only had tired, unremarkable versions of lobster, all prepared haphazardly, and with a common denominator of dried-out, chewy meat. Maybe it was purely bad luck, or maybe I was ordering lobster at all the wrong places, but either way, I hadn’t tried anything that could ultimately convert me from a crab lover to a lobster lover.
And then I recreated this Lobster Spaghetti knockoff, perfected the art of cooking lobster, and never looked back. If you want to get ALL the tips and tricks to cook perfect lobster tail every time, check out the post for this Lobster Scampi.
Mayo or no mayo?
I’ve been wanting to make my own version of lobster rolls for quite some time, and this version is oh-so delicious. I prefer a mayo-based lobster salad, but I don’t like it drenched. This recipe has the perfect ratio of lemon and tarragon-infused dressing to sweet succulent lobster.
Like a crab cake, you really want the lobster meat to shine through, so simplicity is key. We toss a touch of light mayo with the cooled lobster pieces, along with plenty of lemon juice and fresh tarragon. Of course we season it with a little bit of salt and pepper, but really, that’s it.
The meat gets split evenly between garlicky buttery hoagies, sprinkled with a little bit more tarragon and lobster rolls are DONE.
While the ingredient list is humble, the flavors are anything but. The sweet, perfectly cooked lobster is front and center, but you can definitely pinpoint an essence of lemon and tarragon which I love. And the garlic bread hoagies?? Do I even need to convince you to make these??
How to cook lobster tails for lobster rolls
I would never ever buy lobster pre-cooked for this kind of recipe. It’s SO easy to make at home, and you really want it to be freshly cooked. Here’s how it’s done.
- Cut lobster tails with sharp kitchen shears lengthwise. Start at the base of the tail and then work your way over the top part of the shell, then the bottom. Cut the lobster all the way through so you have two pieces.
- Heat butter in a large skillet. Season lobster with salt and pepper.
- Place lobster in the pan and cook shell-side down for 3-4 minutes until the shell starts to turn bright red. Flip over and cook until the shell is completely red and the meat is firm and white. DO NOT OVERCOOK.
- Cool slightly and pull the meat out of the shell. Chop into bite-sized pieces.
Lobster Roll Buns
Of course, a lobster roll isn’t complete without the bread portion of the equation, and think the way I’ve done it here is pretty genius.
Instead of using a plain hot dog bun or run-of-the-mill bread, I used freshly baked, crispy hoagies, cut a V in the inside, cut off just a sliver of the outside. I brush the insides and outsides with extra garlic butter leftover from cooking the lobster, sprinkle with a little bit of salt and then popped and pop them into the oven until they’re crisp and lightly golden brown.
Double-sided, garlic bread….hoagies. Good lord.
How to make Lobster Salad Rolls
While the lobster cooks, I like to whisk the dressing together, you’ll need:
- light mayo
- lemon zest
- lemon juice
- fresh tarragon
- salt & pepper
Add everything to a bowl, whisk to combine and season with salt and pepper. That’s it.
Once the lobster is cooked, all you have to do is nestle the salad into the garlic bread buns, drizzle with more tarragon and serve. With a cold beer preferably.
Can lobster salad rolls be made ahead of time?
Yes! If you want to serve them cold, you can make the lobster salad earlier in the day or even the day before. Store in an airtight container separately from the rolls. You can also make the garlic bread hoagie the day before, just reheat in a 300-degree oven for a few minutes.
What to serve with lobster rolls?
Aside from an ice-cold beer, may I suggest this Everyday Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad that goes with EVERYTHING? We also love to serve this with a hot bowl of Creamy Tomato Soup (Only five ingredients!) on cooler winter days. Also, if you want the whole lobster roll hush puppy experience, and you’re up for a challenge, check out the recipe for these homemade hushpuppies.
Substitutions and Tips and Tricks for Recipe Success
- Swap out the tarragon for fresh basil if you have it in your backyard or fridge
- This recipe would also be great with shrimp!
- Remember, you can always cook the lobster more, but you can’t fix it if it’s overcooked. Keep a close eye on it. When it’s first to the touch and white, it’s cooked through.
- Just like an recipe seasoning is key! Season the lobster, the dressing, and then the salad in the end.
- 16 oz lobster tail (I buy two 8-oz tails)
- 5 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 2 hoagie rolls
- 1/2 tsp dried parsley
- 2 tbsp light mayo
- 1/2 tsp lemon zest
- 3 tsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp chopped tarragon, plus more for garnish
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- sheet pan
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cut a deep V into the middle of each hoagie rolls and remove the bread. Slice the outer edges off of each hoagie so you have a flat area exposed to brush with butter.
- Heat a medium skillet to a medium heat. Add 3 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of garlic. Add lobster tails shell-side down. Cook in the garlic butter until the tails are bright pink. As they cook, spoon the garlic butter over the flesh of the lobster. Turn the tails over so they are flesh-side down, shell-side up. Cook another 2-3 minutes until the lobster meat is firm and white. Do not over cook. Remove the tails from the pan and set aside. Reduce the heat down to low.
- Remove the meat from the sheels. Chop into bite-sized pieces. Add the meat back to the garlic butter and toss until coated. Cool to room temperature.
- While the meat cools, add remaining butter and garlic to the skillet. Heat the garlic butter on low until the garlic is softened. Remove from heat. Use a pastry brush to brush the butter on the inside and outside of each hoagei. Sprinkle inside and outside with dried parsley and season with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 5-7 minutes until slightly crips and just barely golden brown.
- While the lobster cools and hoagies toast, add mayo, lemon zest, lemon juice, tarragon, and salt to a large bowl. Stir until combined. Add lobster pieces. Toss until coated. Season with salt and pepper.
- Nestle lobster into rolls. Garnish with tarragon.