Lobster Salad on a Bed of Potato with Confit of Crispy Leeks
A lobster salad based on French techniques and exquisite ingredients makes a showstopper first course.
- Truffle Vinaigrette
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil - 3/4 cup
- Truffle oil - 1/2 cup
- Sherry Vinegar - 3 tablespoons
- Ttruffle Juice - 2 tablespoons
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Red Potatoes - 2
- Saffron - 1/4 teaspoon
- Shallot - 1 tablespoon, diced
- Chives - 1 tablespoon, snipped, fresh
- Chicken (female) Lobsters - Two, 1-pound
- Leek - 1, large, white part only
- Vegetable oil - for deep-frying
- Salt to taste
- Truffle Shavings - 1 teaspoon
- Truffle oil
- Lobster - (alt. salmon roe)
- Chives - 2 tablespoons, snipped, fresh
- Chervil - 4, fresh, sprigs
To make the truffle vinaigrette: In a large non-aluminum bowl, combine the oils, vinegar, and truffle juice and whisk until blended. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
To prepare the potatoes: Peel the potatoes and carve them into 1-inch diameter cylinders. Place a medium saucepan of lightly salted water over high heat and bring to a low boil. Add the saffron and stir until dissolved. Add the potatoes and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Slice the potatoes into 1/4-inch-thick medallions and place them into a small bowl with the shallots, chives, and 3 tablespoons of the vinaigrette.
To prepare the lobsters: Place a large stockpot of lightly salted water over high heat and bring it to a boil. Kill each lobster by using the point of a large knife to make a small incision in the back of the shell where the chest and tail meet. Place a long flat stick such as a chopstick against the underside of each lobster tail and tie it securely in place; this prohibits the tail from curling while the lobster cooks, and makes it easier to slice. Plunge the lobsters into the boiling water and cook until the shells turn bright red, 2 to 3 minutes.
Drain the lobsters and remove the strings and sticks. Let cool enough to handle. To clean the lobsters, hold the lobster over a medium plate and twist the body from the tail, shaking any roe out of the body cavity and tail section onto the plate (not all lobsters will have any coral-colored roe). Twist off the claws and large knuckles and the legs where they join the body.
Reserve the bodies, large knuckles, legs, and shells for stock. Lightly crush each tail shell with your hands and carefully remove the meat. Pull the black strip out of the tail and discard it. Slice the tail into 1/2-inch medallions. Use the back of the knife to crack the claws and remove the meat from them.
Place the lobster meat in a medium bowl and toss with the remaining vinaigrette. Place the bowl over a pan of warm water and keep warm over low heat for no more than 10 or 15 minutes.
To prepare the leeks: Cut the leek in half lengthwise and plunge into cold water to wash and clean. Drain the leek and pat very dry with paper towels, then cut the leek into very thin lengthwise strips.
In a large heavy saucepan or deep skillet, heat a 2-inch depth of oil until it reaches 360 F, or is fragrant. Drop in the leek and stir with a fork to separate the strands and keep the oil moving. Cook until crisp, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Remove the leek from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels, again separating the strands with a fork. Sprinkle the leek with salt.
To serve: Add the truffle shavings to the potatoes and toss. Arrange 4 slices of potato in a circle in the center of each serving plate. Place 1 lobster medallion on each slice of potato and spoon some of the dressing on top. Mound some of the crisp leeks on top of the salad, and add the meat of 1 claw to each plate. Drizzle the plate with truffle oil and scatter some of the lobster roe or salmon roe and snipped chives around the edges. Garnish with fresh chervil.