Found Recipes: Dr. Klaw's Authentic New England Lobster Roll A dozen years ago in Brooklyn, N.Y., a Cape Cod surfer dude created a secret identity to sell simple and delicious lobster rolls.

Found Recipes: Dr. Klaw's Authentic New England Lobster Roll

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript


And now, a savory sandwich much enjoyed across New England and championed by Ben Sargent. He's a cook, a fisherman and a serious Cape Cod surfer dude. For our found recipe series, he wants to share his love for the lobster roll, which began when he was a boy.

BEN SARGENT: You didn't have to put a bib on, there was no cracking involved. You just stopped on the side of the road and you had this unbelievable bite of something you had just - you never knew could be so good.

CORNISH: But when he moved to New York City 12 years ago...

SARGENT: The lobster roll in New York was too chef-y.

CORNISH: Extreme disappointment for Ben. Extreme.

SARGENT: This sounds ridiculous but it had too much lobster, too much mayonnaise, it had a garnish, it was spilling out over the top. And it was trying to be impressive because, of course, if you're going to charge $30 for a lobster roll, it's got to look like $30.

CORNISH: So to satisfy his addiction for real New England lobster rolls, Ben Sargent went underground, literally underground to a basement apartment in Brooklyn that had no food permit, yet turned out the real deal.

SARGENT: Hard to get, very scrumptious lobster rolls.

CORNISH: They sold for $14 a pop, cash only. The man behind the operation, a shady fellow, a kind of seafood gangster known as Dr. Klaw.

SARGENT: K-L-A-W, not C-L-A-W. Dr. Klaw had a very, very, should I say, religious following of lobster roll aficionados that had his secret cell phone number and would send a text and at any given hour, would receive a handoff of steamy, hot, beautiful lobster rolls.

For the most part you never really saw Dr. Klaw's face. Dr. Klaw operated at night and was essentially a hand that would come out of a mail slot with a lot of bling, a lot of gold jewelry, and it handed you an illegal lobster roll. Unfortunately, what happened is probably one of his best customers ratted him out accidentally.

A notice arrived that, unfortunately, was intercepted by Dr. Klaw's landlord. It was a cease-and-desist order that basically says you will go to jail, imprisonment. And the notice read, by order of the board of the commissioner of health to Ben Sargent, Dr. Klaw, D.B.A. Lobstapushaman(ph) so now you know. It was me. I was Dr. Klaw.

Every night was such an adventure when I was Dr. Klaw. There was the high rolling, the money, the women, the - you name it. I mean, it was a pretty wild lifestyle. I don't think I'll ever do it as Ben. It's just not as much fun. So here is the recipe for Dr. Klaw's authentic lobster roll.

A lot of people boil their lobster. You don't want to boil it. You want to steam it. You have an onion, throw in some garlic, little bit of Old Bay and you use salt, a lot of sea salt and you build up a concoction. And you just - it's really basically giving that lobster, in its final minutes, a sea flavor. You don't want to boil that out of the lobster. Step two is buttering your bun with sort of a garlic, wine spread and it has to be a high fructose corn syrup bun, toasted on the inside face down.

And then what you do is you transfer your picked lobster meat at that point to a bowl and you bring in a little bit of mayonnaise. You bring that lobster salad up to temperature. So last, but not least, the lobster goes into the bun, your hot, buttery, golden delicious bun and there's a little spread of salted butter on top and you hit it with the Old Bay and boom, it goes through the mail slot.

CORNISH: That's Ben Sargent, A.K.A. Dr. Klaw. He's the author of "The Catch: Sea To Table Recipes, Stories and Secrets." You can get his recipe for lobster rolls on our Found Recipes page on

Copyright © 2013 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.