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The secret to a healthier lobster roll (with recipe!)


With glorious summer visits to Red Hook Lobster Pound come overgenerous servings of bread, mayo, and butter. Chef Ashton Keefe's got another way.
Lobster roll
(Photo: Pinterest)

New Yorkers have gone crazy for lobster rolls over the past few years (decades?). But with glorious visits to Red Hook Lobster Pound (or that secret oceanside shack) come overgenerous servings of bread, mayo, and butter.

Chef Ashton Keefe’s got another way.

Keefe was formerly the personal chef of famed restaurant critic Gael Greene and the sous chef at Haven’s Kitchen. Now, she’s the owner of a culinary lifestyle service that teaches urban millennials how to cook on limited budgets in small spaces. In other words, she wants you to deal with your Seamless habit, stat.

Cooking at home automatically makes your meals better for you. Combine that with her simple tricks, and your lobster roll will be super light and fresh. “What you’re trying to do is taste the lobster and not the filling,” she explains. To do that, she ramps up the vegetable content with radishes and red cabbage and uses zesty lemon juice instead of butter or mayo. To take it all the way, wrap it up in bibb lettuce instead of a roll.

Still sound scary? Keefe’s teaching a lobster roll basics cooking class on August 12, and she swears it’s easy enough for a kitchen novice. “It’s very, very easy and approachable,” she promises. “Besides the lobster itself, it’s a really simple dish, and you can get the seafood guy at the store to cook it for you or you can even just buy the steamed lobster right there.”

Here’s Keefe’s recipe for a light-and-healthy lobster roll you’ll want to make more than once. —Lisa Elaine Held

Ashton Keefe
(Photo: Ashton Keefe)

Lighter Lobster Roll
Recipe by Ashton Keefe

Serves 4

1–1.5 lb lobster
1 celery stalk, finely chopped with 1 tablespoon celery leaves reserved for garnish
1 cup finely sliced radishes
1 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
1 garlic clove, grated on a microplane
1 inch ginger, peeled and grated on a microplane
1 cup shredded red cabbage
1 Tbsp olive oil
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp fine sea salt
Dash of hot sauce (optional)
4 hot dog buns, toasted
Butter lettuce (optional)

Place a pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil. Salt as you would when cooking pasta and add lobsters. Cook until the lobsters are bright red. The rule of thumb is 1 lb = 5–7 minutes, 1 1/4 lb = 8–10 minutes, 1 1/2 = 10–12, 2–3 lb. = 12 – 18 minutes.

Remove and remove meat, cut into large pieces.

In a medium bowl combine lobster, celery, radishes, parsley, garlic, ginger, cabbage, olive oil, lemon zest and juice, salt and hot sauce. Stuff into rolls or butter lettuce.