Definitely not your ordinary salad, this magnificent dish starts with lobsters cooked in seasoned water, then presents the medallions with a salad of baby artichokes, mushrooms, carrots, pearl onions, asparagus tips, and leeks on arugula leaves and frisee. A simple vinaigrette of olive oil and balsamic vinegar dresses the vegetables and the plate; tomato quarters add still more color.
- Celery Stalk - 2, diced
- Carrots - 2, diced
- Leeks - 2, diced
- Whole lobsters - 2
- Tomatoes - 2, peeled, quartered, and seeded
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Thyme Sprigs - 1
- Garlic Cloves - 3, crushed
- Olive Oil - 2 - 3 tablespoons
- Bouquet Garni
- Celery stalks with leaves - 2, cut in half
- Thyme Sprigs - 2
- Leeks - 2
- Baby artichoke hearts - 2
- Lemon - 1, halved
- Olive Oil - 1/2 cup
- Mushroom Caps - 6 - 8
- Baby Carrots - 4, tops trimmed short
- Pearl Onions - 6 - 8
- Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
- Garlic Cloves - 4 - 5, crushed
- Baby Leeks - 4
- Asparagus tips - 4, 4 to 5 inches long
- Dry white wine - 2 - 3 cups
- White peppercorns - 1 tablespoon
- Balsamic Vinegar - 2 tablespoons
- Anchovy paste - 1 teaspoon
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- Arugula Leaves - 10 - 12, washed
- Frisee - 1 cup
- Caviar - 2 - 3 tablespoons
- Sea salt
To prepare the lobster: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the celery, carrots, and leeks and cook until slightly softened. Add the lobsters and boil 8 minutes. Lift out with tongs and drain on paper towels; let cool. Remove the tail and claw meat from the shell. Cut the tails into medallions. With a bamboo skewer or soda straw, push the black vein out of each tail and discard. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and set aside; if not using within 20 minutes, chill in the refrigerator.
To prepare the tomatoes: Preheat the oven to 200 F. Place the tomatoes, cut-side down, on a baking pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; rub the thyme sprig between your hands to sprinkle a few thyme leaves over the tomatoes. Add the crushed garlic. Drizzle with olive oil and bake 10 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels.
To make the bouquet garni: Stack the celery stalks and thyme sprigs. Fold the leeks to fit the bundle and tie it all together with kitchen twine.
To prepare the vegetables: Shorten the stems of the artichokes and pull off the stiff outer leaves. Pare the stems. Bring a large pan of salted water to a rolling boil and put the artichokes and lemon in the water; squeeze the lemon juice into the water before adding the lemon. Bring back to a boil and let cook for 10 minutes, or until a knife can easily be inserted in the base. Remove from heat, drain, and plunge the artichokes into cold water. Let stand 30 seconds, pour off the water, and drain the artichokes on paper towels. Cut in quarters. Scrape out the fuzzy choke with a spoon. Set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium saute pan or skillet over medium-high heat and add the mushrooms, carrots, and onions. Add the bouquet garni and reduce the heat to medium. Season with salt and pepper. Cook about 1 minute. Toss the vegetables frequently; do not brown. Add 1/4 cup of the olive oil and the crushed garlic. Cook 1 minute. Add the leeks, asparagus, and wine to cover. Sprinkle in the white peppercorns. Cook 20 minutes. Drain, plunge into cold water, and drain again. Pat dry with paper towels. Put in a bowl and toss with the remaining 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, anchovy paste, and pepper to dress.
To serve: Place 5 - 6 arugula leaves in a radial pattern in the center of the plates. Center with frisee. Place 2 baby carrots on each plate, tops out. Place 2 asparagus spears on each plate, tips out. Lay leeks across the frisee. Place pearl onions and mushrooms around the greens. Place a lobster medallions on each arugula leaf and top with a dot of caviar. Lay two shelled claws together on each plate. Place tomatoes over the leeks and frisee. Drizzle the anchovy vinaigrette over the plates. Finish each with a grinding of sea salt.