LOBSTER SALAD WITH FRESH TOMATOES

by - 4:46 AM

There is nothing I enjoy more than working my way through a lobster or crab,
plucking the meat out of the shell and savoring each morsel. The succulent flavors
of the salad and the fun of picking at the lobster are the draw of this dish, but I also
love the beautiful colors of the salad.
If you do not feel like working through lobster shells, shrimp will work as well, as
long as you are sure not to overcook it.
SERVES 6 AS AN APPETIZER SALAD, OR 4 AS A MAIN-COURSE SALAD
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus 6 tablespoons for the lobster pot
Two 1¼-pound live lobsters
3 or 4 ripe fresh tomatoes (about 1½ pounds), or 1 pound sweet, ripe cherry tomatoes
2 or 3 tender stalks celery with a nice amount of leaves
Freshly squeezed juice of 2 large lemons (about ⅓ cup)
2 large hard-cooked eggs, peeled and chopped
¼ teaspoon hot red pepper flakes, or to taste
¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
Fill a large pot with 6 quarts water, add 6 tablespoons salt, and bring to a rolling boil.
When the water is at a rolling boil, drop in the lobsters, and cook them, uncovered, for
exactly 10 minutes after the water returns to the boiling point (and then keep it
boiling). At the end of 10 minutes (or a couple of minutes longer if the lobsters are
larger than 1¼ pounds), lift the lobsters from the pot, rinse with cold water, drain, and
let them cool.
Core and cut the tomatoes into wedges, about 1 inch thick (if you have cherry
tomatoes, cut them in half). Chop the celery stalks crosswise into 1-inch pieces, and
roughly chop the leaves. Toss the tomatoes and celery together in a large bowl with ½
teaspoon of the salt.
When the lobsters are cool enough to handle, twist and pull off the claws and knuckle
segments where the knuckles attach to the front of the body. Lay the clawless lobsters
flat on a cutting board, and split them in half lengthwise, from head to tail, with a
heavy chef’s knife. Separate the meaty tail pieces from the carcass (or body) of the four
split halves.
Cut the lobster body meat and shell into pieces of whatever size you like, putting the
pieces in a large mixing bowl as you work. Separate the knuckles from the claws, and
crack open the shells of both knuckles and hard claw pincers with the thick edge of the
knife blade, or kitchen shears, exposing the meat. Chop the knuckles into pieces at the
joints.
Cut the tail pieces crosswise into chunks, or leave them whole (which I prefer). Cut
the carcass pieces crosswise in two, with the walking legs still attached (though you can
cut them off). I like to leave the tomalley and roe in the body pieces, as a special treat
while eating the salad. (As an alternative, remove the tomalley and roe and whisk them
into the dressing. Or you can remove them and discard, if they’re not to your liking.)
To make the dressing: Whisk together the lemon juice, chopped eggs, hot red pepper
flakes, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Pour in the olive oil in a slow stream, whisking
steadily to incorporate it into a smooth dressing.
To serve: Add the tomatoes and celery to the bowl of lobster pieces. Pour in the
dressing, and tumble everything together until evenly coated. Scatter the parsley on top.
Arrange the salad on a large platter, or compose individual servings on salad plates.

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