Warm Lobster Salad with Panache of Tropical Fruit and Citrus Vinaigrette
If you ever wondered why salads at fine restaurants look and taste so much better than salads at home, Chef Serrano’s recipe answers the question: layering flavors and textures. The chef uses not just one but five different lettuces that not only offer different textures and flavors but allow him to recreate a lobster shape on the plate. In the vinaigrette the chef layers flavors of four citrus juices with truffle essence, (you may substitute readily available truffle oil), 15-year-old Sherry vinegar, Port wine, honey and extra virgin olive oil–not your usual vinaigrette. But the beauty of this recipe is that it is only half as hard as it looks to make, but it tastes twice as good. If you wish, you may replace the lobster oil with extra virgin olive oil.
- Maine Lobsters - Four, 1-pound live
- Citrus Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
- Mache Lettuce - 1 bunch
- Red Oak Leaf Lettuce - 1 small, bunch
- Belgian Endive (frisee) - 1 bunch, curly
- Celery Root (celeriac) - 1, pared, julienned
- Treviso (radicchio, Treviso variety) - 1 head
- Chervil Sprigs - garnish
- Pink Peppercorns - as needed
- Lobster Oil (recipe follows) - (alt. extra virgin olive oil)
- Ripe Papaya - 1/2, peeled, seeded, finely diced
- Ripe Mango - 1/2, peeled, seeded, finely diced
- Kiwi - 1, peeled, finely diced
- Fresh Pineapple - 1/2 cup, diced
- Citrus Vinaigrette
- Lemon Juice - 1/4 cup
- Lime Juice - 1/4 cup
- Blood Orange (alt.navel orange juice) - 1/4 cup
- Pineapple Juice - 1/4 cup
- Honey - 1 tablespoon
- Ttruffle Juice - 1 teaspoon (alt. 1 tablespoon truffle oil)
- Port Wine - 2 tablespoons
- Aged Sherry vinegar - 2 tablespoons
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil - 2 to 2-1/2 cups
- Lobster Shells - 1 pound, uncooked
- Canola oil - 3 cups, divided
- Dry white wine - 1/2 cup
- Carrot - 1, peeled, chopped
- Onion - 1 small, peeled, chopped
- Celery - 1 stalk, cleaned, chopped
- Garlic Clove - 1, peeled
- Any brand shrimp or crab boil seasoning - 1 tablespoon
Kill lobsters quickly by placing lobsters on a cutting board, firmly inserting the point of a French knife between the eyes, driving the blade through to the cutting board, then bringing the blade down, cutting the head (brain) in half. To prevent tail from curling, tie each lobster on a wooden stick (a pair of disposable chopsticks works fine) with kitchen twine. Poach the lobsters in boiling, lightly salted water, for 2 minutes. Remove from water and allow to cool.
Meanwhile make vinaigrette; reserve. In a separate bowl, mix together diced tropical fruits; reserve. In another small bowl, toss the julienned celery root with citrus vinaigrette to moisten; reserve.
Remove the lobster tail meat in one piece. Trim off sides and discard. Cut tail meat into medallions that conform to the tail’s natural segments. Remove the meat from the claws in one piece.
To serve: Create a bed of salad for the lobster-shaped presentation on each of four serving plates. For the head, place four mache leaves in a semi-circle a the top of the plate. Top them with another semi-circle of red oak leaf lettuce topped with some small bunches of curly endive. In the center of the plate, as a bed for the lobster, place the julienned celery root. Fan out the Belgian endive leaves at the bottom of the place to create the tail and place one piece of the radicchio in the center of the endive leaves. Film the bottom of a large saute pan with citrus vinaigrette. Place lobster tails in their reassembled shape side by side in the pan. Place claw meat on the sides. Drizzle a little vinaigrette over lobster pieces and heat under broiler until warm, about 15 to 20 seconds. Place medallions on the bed of julienned celery root in the shape of the tail. Place one claw on either side. Spoon a little warm dressing over entire salad. Garnish lobster with chervil sprigs, sprinkle a few pink peppercorns around and drizzle plate with a little lobster oil. Place 1 to 2 tablespoons of diced fruit mixture on top of the lobster.
Makes about 3 cups
Combine lemon juice and lime juice in a small pan. Place orange juice and pineapple juice in separate small pans. Over medium heat, reduce the juices by half. Combine juices in a mixing bowl and whisk in honey to dissolve. Whisk in truffle juice, Port wine, and aged Sherry vinegar. Slowly whisk in olive oil until desired flavor is achieved.
This flavorful, fragrant oil may be stored, refrigerated for three weeks. Use it to add flavor to butter or oil when sauteing seafood; drizzle it over steamed or sauteed fish fillets; add it to clarified butter for dipping boiled lobster; and, when marinating seafood for the barbecue grill, use lobster oil in the marinade.
Makes about 3 cups
In a large, deep saucepan with an oven proof handle or Dutch oven, heat 1/2 cup of the canola oil over high heat. Add the lobster shells and saute, stirring, for 20 minutes. Lower heat, if necessary, to prevent burning. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, stirring until the wine evaporates.
Add the remaining ingredients, stirring to mix. Place the pan in a preheated 350 degree oven. Cook for 45 minutes. Remove pan from oven; let oil cool to room temperature. Strain through several layers of cheesecloth or a paper coffee filter. Discard solids. Store oil in a glass jar, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for three weeks.