Lobster Roll: Cork Style

Lobster roll with pickles

End of Summer Al Fresco Lunch:
Lobster Rolls and “Healthy” Blackberry Crumble

The end of summer has arrived and will soon be a fleeting memory. In an effort to hang on to the warmth and bright sun, I came up with an outdoor late summer lunch to chase thoughts of cold weather away. Of course, I live in New England where a Maine lobster roll is mandatory for every tourist and the best way to celebrate the season. If you are headed to the New England seacoast, the best local stop is the Clam Shack in Kennebunkport, Maine, but at twenty bucks a pop, not something possible to indulge in very often.

I have never associated lobster rolls with Ireland. However, my fellow American turned Irish dairy farmer, Imen McDonnell, features one in her cookbook, The Farmette Cookbook, using the traditional Irish Blaa as the roll. After reading her book, the idea of combining Irish traditions with our seacoast food began to percolate. And recently, I saw a video on Sean O’Manachain’s instagram, where he was buying a lobster roll from Lobsterman Mike Barrett’s stall at Midleton Farmers’ Market. He used pickles in it, which Sean mentioned was very Cork (he also made his own version on his website).

After pondering some different combinations, I decided to create my own version, and the New England Lobster Roll: Cork Style was born! Towards the end of the summer lobster prices drop, so I picked up a couple of lobsters at our local supermarket for $10. They were soft shell, which are easier to crack. I confess: the supermarket steamed them for me since it was my first time. However, after talking with Marcus at the seafood counter about the best way to cook lobster, it sounded quite easy; next time I will do the steaming. He said to grab a big pot and fill it with a few inches of water. Then bring to a boil. Put in the lobsters (as many as will fit in your pot with a cover), and bring it back to a boil. After it reaches a boil again, steam them for about 8 more minutes.

New England Lobster Roll: Cork Style

Serves 2 (or 1 lobster crazed cook)
Makes one JUMBO roll or two smaller rolls. For more servings simply double the ingredients!


  • 1 1/2 half cups of lobster (two one pound lobsters)
  • Small handful of fresh tarragon, finely diced
  • 1 Tbs of mayonnaise
  • 1/2 Tbs of butter
  • One large six inch crusty white bread sub roll or two hot dog size rolls
  • 4 chunky pickles slices (sweet and sour/ make your own or purchase)

Lobster salad

1. Steam the lobsters (see above).
2. Cool off enough to avoid burns when you break them open. If you like chilled lobster, then cool off at room temperature for about 30 minutes and put in the fridge for an hour.
3. When the lobster has been removed from the shell and the tomalley put aside (green stuff inside the lobster – I throw it away, but for the more adventurous, it can be used for other recipes).
4. Chop up the lobster and mix it with the mayo and diced tarragon (this herb is amazingly flavorful. If you do not care for pickles, then just the tarragon is delicious. Add a bit more if you decide on this route).
5. Heat up a pan to medium high heat with the melted butter. Cut open the roll halfway, then place it open faced in the hot butter until gets light golden brown. Flip it and brown the outside for a minute of so.
6. Take the hot buttery roll out and fill it with the lobster salad mixture. Then place in your pickle slices. Squeeze together and eat!

I paired mine with roasted sweet potato wedges, but a simple green salad or crisps (potato chips) would be lovely too! For a beverage, I made myself an Elderflower spritzer (seltzer water with a splash or two of Elderflower cordial).

Knock your Socks Off Sweet and Sour Pickle Recipe

Note: use a strong jar with a metal ringed, snap top lid (Fido makes great ones. The jar will crack if it is not a sturdy one)


  • 10 pickling cucumbers, thickly sliced (helps retain crispness)
  • 3 -4 Tbs dill weed
  • 6 cups of white vinegar (if you do not like super sour, then you can cut the vinegar in half and add three cups of water)
  • 5 cups of sugar

You want enough liquid to fully cover the pickles with a bit extra. It is easy to vary the amount of liquids and sugar based on the amount of pickles in the jar.

1. Slice the pickles and put in the jar with the dill weed.
2. Slowly bring sugar and vinegar to a boil, stirring often. Boil for a minute or so. Sugar can burn if you boil it too fast. Stirring will ensure that the sugar dissolves fully before it starts to boil.
3. Slowly pour your liquid over the pickles (make sure the jar does not crack. Metal helps to conduct the heat so that is why you need a strong jar with a metal ring!).
4. Allow to cool with lid open for about 30 minutes.
5. Seal it up after it has cooled a fair amount and then put it in the fridge.
6. In about two or three days you can enjoy your first pickle.

“Healthy” Blackberry Crumble

Blackberry crumble

Serves 4-6


  • 4 cups of fresh blackberries
  • 6 tablespoons of maple syrup
  • 2 1/4 cups of oats
  • 3/4 cups of almond meal
  • 1 tsp of vanilla powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 cup plus 1 tablespoon of melted coconut oil


1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Using a small amount of coconut oil, lightly grease an 8x8 pan. Spread the blackberries evenly in the pan. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the maple syrup. Place in the oven for about 8 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the rest of the maple syrup, oats, almond meal, vanilla powder, cinnamon, and melted coconut oil. Stir together.
3. Pull out the heated fruit and spread the crumble in a layer over the fruit. Put back the oven for another 15-20 minutes. Remove when the crumble layer is golden brown.
4. Cool for about 10-15 minutes and serve with vanilla ice cream. If you need it to be vegan, then simply use dairy free ice cream. A dessert that appeals to all of your guests!


New England lobster roll: Cork style

Toasties and egg

Grilled cheese with arugula, egg and balsamic glaze

We’ve taken toasties (grilled cheese) and bumped it up a notch with arugula, then topped it with a sunny-side-up egg and balsamic glaze, and served it with a side of fried tomatoes rather than the traditional tomato soup. It makes a meal that’s equally delicious for breakfast or lunch. Our recipe is made with thick-cut slices of our own soda bread, but feel free to substitute. Either way you’ll want a fork and knife to tackle this flavor powerhouse.

Ingredients (for one sandwich)

  • 2 slices of bread (I used our own homemade brown soda bread)
  • 1-2 ounces sharp cheddar cheese grated or sliced (or whatever your preference is, but use real cheese, not cheese product. Your taste buds will thank you.)
  • Handful of arugula
  • Butter
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ tomato sliced
  • Balsamic glaze (optional. Glaze is a sweet balsamic vinegar reduction and usually sits near the balsamic vinegar at a grocery store.)

Preheat oven to 300° Fahrenheit and a skillet over medium low heat. Butter two slices of bread and place one on the skillet butter side down. Top with cheese and arugula and cover the skillet to keep in the heat. Cook about two minutes and add tomato to the skillet, sprinkling the tomatoes with salt and pepper and recovering the pan. Continue cooking until the underside of the sandwich is golden brown and cheese is melted, about 2 more minutes. Place the second slice of bread on top — butter on the outside — and flip the sandwich using a spatula and your hand. Compress sandwich a bit with the spatula. Flip the tomatoes. Cover the pan and cook the sandwich and tomatoes until underside of sandwich is golden brown, 2-3 minutes. Place sandwich and tomatoes on oven safe plate in oven to keep warm.

Melt ½ tablespoon of butter into pan and crack egg into butter. If using a nonstick pan, you can reduce the amount of butter. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until whites are set, but the yolk is still runny, about 2 minutes.

Remove plate from oven and top the sandwich with the egg and more arugula if desired. Drizzle balsamic glaze over the top of everything. Serve with a fork and knife.

The sandwich ready to assemble
Ready to assemble.

Frying the sandwich bottom and tomatoes
Frying the sandwich and tomatoes.

The egg frying in the pan.
Nearly there…

The finished sandwich
Grilled cheese, arugula and egg with a side of fried tomatoes.

The sandwich with balsamic glaze
Looking for that extra punch? Drizzle some balsamic glaze over the sandwich and tomatoes.

Soda bread

Fresh from the oven

You’d be hard pressed to find an Irish kitchen without a recipe or two for brown soda bread, the old hearty standby that puts any store bought loaf to shame. It’s basic, but practically required Irish home-cooking. Our recipe produces a soft, nutty loaf equally at home with a bowl of soup, as part of a sandwich or just by itself with a spot of butter and/or jam. One of the great aspects of brown bread is that you can enjoy it sweet or salty depending on how you pair it. Toasted soda bread with butter and honey (one of James Joyce’s favorites) is a classic for a reason. I like to make a loaf a week to keep on hand.

Ingredients (one loaf)

  • 2½ cups whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • ½ cup steel cut oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 325° Fahrenheit. Coat a 9x5 loaf pan with cooking spray, line with parchment paper and coat the paper with spray.

Combine dry ingredients; combine wet ingredients; then add wet mixture to dry and mix until combined, taking care not to over mix. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan and flatten with a wet spoon. If desired, sprinkle more oats on top. Bake for 65 minutes or until crust is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove loaf from pan and parchment paper and cool on a rack.

Wrapped in tinfoil or plastic, bread should last several days up to about a week at room temperature and will last longer if refrigerated or frozen.

Looking to create a delicious sandwich with this bread? Try our Toastie and egg.

Gathering the ingredients
Gathering the ingredients.

Wet and dry ready to mix
Wet and dry ready to mix.

Ready to bake
In the pan, ready to bake. So simple, but so perfect.

Soda bread disappearing
A blank slate.

Butter and unfiltered honey topped soda bread. Cue James Joyce.

P.A.C.E. Wrap

Potato, asparagus, cheese and egg wrap

I’ve tossed together some of my favorite brunch ingredients to make my own P.A.C.E. wrap (potato, asparagus, cheese and egg). Then I tossed in a bite of healthy yogurt and a dash of balsamic vinegar for zing. No need to feel guilty with this one, though you might have a hard time convincing your taste buds.

Ingredients (makes two wraps)

  • 2 medium red potatoes
  • ½ lb. fresh asparagus
  • 2 large eggs (preferably organic)
  • Cheddar cheese (I used Kerrygold Aged Cheddar)
  • 1-2 green onions (scallions)
  • 2 wraps of your choice (avoid any with hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils as those are your trans-fats)
  • 1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons yogurt (preferably non-sweetened, full fat and grass-fed)
  • White vinegar
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Salt
  • Pepper

PACE ingredients

Preheat oven to 400° fahrenheit. Wash and dry potatoes and asparagus. Snap and discard woody ends off asparagus and snap each stalk into 2-3 pieces. Cut potatoes into 1” chunks. Place potatoes and asparagus pieces into a sealable gallon bag, toss with 1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and a pinch and a half of salt. Roast vegetables on roasting sheet for 20 minutes, stirring several times.

Meanwhile, rinse and dry 1-2 green onions and slice into thin rounds. Cut a few thin slices of cheese and crumble into small bits or just shred enough to fill ½ cup loose give or take.

Fill a small saucepan with a few inches of water and bring to a boil with 1 teaspoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of white vinegar.

After the potatoes and asparagus have roasted for 20 minutes, remove from the oven and gather into a pile on the roasting sheet. Cover with the crumbled/shredded cheese and return to the oven for five more minutes.

One at a time, crack cold eggs into a small bowl or ramekin, stir the boiling water to create a whirlpool. Pour an egg at a time from the small bowl into the center of the whirlpool (this should help keep the egg neat). Remove from heat and cover with a towel for 5 minutes.

Smear a tablespoon of yogurt on the center each wrap, sprinkle a few green onion slices on top and drizzle on a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar.

When the vegetables have roasted for five minutes, remove from the oven and stir to combine with the melted cheese, then spoon half the mixture onto each wrap, ensuring that the mixture is at least an inch from the edges. It is important not to overfill the wraps.

Remove the eggs from the water with a slotted spoon and place one on top of each wrap. Add a dash of salt and freshly ground pepper to the top of each wrap. Then carefully fold the top and bottom ends of each wrap inward slightly covering the ingredients and roll one side edge into a tube to make a fully enclosed wrap. Slice each wrap in half and enjoy. Try these with Irish beans.

Ready to roast
Ready to roast

Roasted with cheese
Roasted with cheese

Ready to roll
Ready to roll

Pub sandwiches

Party sandwiches

So the big rugby match is on and you’re looking for something simple and satisfying. Maybe some friends are coming over for tea and you don’t have time to run to the store. Rest assured, the Irish have an answer and there’s a good chance you already have the ingredients: party sandwiches. These little goodies are proof that the simplest foods can be the tastiest.

I’m making three types — egg, cucumber and ham — and they’ll be scarfed down by the score. Vegan friendly butter can be substituted on the cucumber sandwiches to accommodate vegan friends.

Traditionally the Irish have used white bread for these bites, but increasingly you’ll find healthier options. I’ve used seeded rye for the extra flavor.

Ingredients (makes three sandwiches)

  • 2 peeled hard boiled eggs (I place eggs in a pot covered in cool water, bring just to a boil, remove from heat and cover with a towel for 12 minutes)
  • Sliced ham
  • Cucumber
  • Butter
  • Bread
  • 2 Tablespoons Mayonnaise
  • Dill weed
  • Salt

Slice crusts off bread

Egg salad

For the egg sandwich:
Dice eggs and combine in bowl with mayonnaise, a pinch and a half of dill weed and a dash of salt. Spoon egg mixture onto one slice of bread (there will be a little leftover); cover with second slice of bread.

For the ham sandwich:
Cut several layers of thinly sliced ham to fit the bread; place them flat on one slice of bread; butter second slice generously and cover.

For the cucumber sandwich:
Cut cucumber into ¼“ slices (or paper thin if you prefer); layer on first slice of bread; butter second slice generously and cover.

Quarter each sandwich and serve.

Party sandwiches open