The summer after my freshman year in college I stayed with my husband (then my fairly new boyfriend) at his parents house on Long Island for ten days. There were many awkward moments during that long visit to the home of the people who would one day be my in-laws, including the lobster dinner that inspired this meal.
Back then I was a sort-of vegetarian. I didn't eat red meat at all, rarely ate chicken and hadn't really taken a stand on seafood; in reality, it was all probably a product of the same food weirdness that had rendered me incapable of eating in front of boys in high school and I eventually grew out of it. At the time, though, when I pulled up to the table surrounded by my then boyfriend, his two older sisters, his parents and his grandparents, I simply couldn't fathom tying on a plastic bib, tearing a crustacean limb from limb and slurping down its butter-dipped innards, and so I politely declined. His family's ensuing shock, insistence on my eating mounds of salad, and speculation about the motivation behind my pseudo-vegetarianism made me silently vow that I would learn to eat lobster like a grown up, a skill that would have saved me one of the most blushingly uncomfortable meals of my life.
I'm happy to report that I have, in fact, learned to eat lobster, though I mostly stick to the tail and legs and sometimes need some help tearing off the body. So, when my in-laws came to visit last weekend, some 17 years after that first lobster dinner, I decided that I'd serve them lobster on my own terms. I made these sandwiches and served them with corn on the cob, a not-too-heavy-on-the-mayo cole slaw from epicurious.com and beer (UFO White with lemon wedges). And I ate it like a grown up.
Lobster BLTs with tarragon-lemon mayo
For the mayonnaise
1/2 cup of store-bought mayonnaise
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon lemon zest
salt and pepper to taste
For the sandwich
Claw and tail meat from two 1 1/2 pound steamed lobsters (Most grocery stores steam them for free sparing you an unpleasant scene in the kitchen.)
12 slices of good quality bacon
One tomato, sliced thin
Eight leaves of Boston lettuce
Eight thick slices of the bread of your choice, toasted (I used challah; the sweetness worked nicely with the tartness of the tarragon-lemon mayo.)
Combine the ingredients for the mayonnaise a couple of hours before you plan to serve the sandwiches and let it sit in the refrigerator to allow the flavors to come together.
Shell the lobster. Slice the tail meat into 1/4-inch thick discs and roughly chop the claw meat.
Cook the bacon so that it is crisp but not burnt.
Assemble the sandwiches by slathering the toast with mayo, piling on lobster and topping it with two leaves of lettuce, three slices of bacon and tomato.
Cut the sandwiches in half on the diagonal and enjoy.