The lobster roll at Supernormal has achieved cult status, up there with 400 Gradi's margherita pizza and Lune's croissants. They first popped up at Golden Fields in St Kilda after Andrew McConnell sampled something similar on a 2010 trip to New York. It's now a staple at Supernormal, his poppy Asian eatery in Flinders Lane.
The menu is McConnell's broad interpretation of Asia in Melbourne, a nod to his years spent working in Shanghai and Hong Kong. As for the lobster roll, the meat is from different regions depending on the season, but the soft, sugary rolls are made at Breadtop in Chinatown. McConnell heats them, butters them up and adds sweet Kewpie mayo, available at any Asian grocer.
He puts their popularity down to the rolls being, "a little bit of luxury without having to over-commit."
2 lobster tails (about 250g each once shelled)
½ cup Kewpie mayonnaise
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon mustard powder
2 French shallots, cut in half lengthways and finely slice
8 brioche buns, cut in half horizontally
1 cup picked watercress
3 tablespoons olive oil
Bring a large saucepan of water o the boil and reduce to a simmer over medium heat. Poach the lobster tails in their shells for 15–20 minutes until cooked – a probe thermometer is useful here, with the ideal internal temperature being 63°C. Remove the lobster tails from the pan and set aside to cool, then refrigerate until chilled.
Preheat the oven to 180°C fan-forced (200°C conventional).
Remove the lobster meat from the shells and slice into eight discs per tail. Finely chop any small or discoloured pieces of lobster you may have leftover.
Combine the mayonnaise, lemon juice, vinegar and mustard powder into a small bowl. Slowly add the oil while whisking continually. Season to taste.
Butter the brioche buns lightly. Place them, buttered side down, in an ovenproof frying pan and toast in the oven for about 5 minutes until golden brown.
Spread 1 teaspoon of the mayonnaise on each buttered half of the brioche buns. Place 1 tablespoon of the chopped lobster on the bottom bun and season to taste. Arrange two slices of lobster meat on top without overlapping. Add ½ teaspoon of mayonnaise to each lobster slice and season again to taste. Add a few slices of shallot and a few pieces of watercress, close with the top buns and serve immediately.
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