Lobsta Fest Part I: Champagne Lobster Salad

Lobster Salad

Champagne Lobster Salad

My favorite part of New Years has recently become the annual tradition of feasting on lobster, although I should probably credit the grocery store across the street that delightfully has the tradition of putting live lobsters on sale the last week of the year. Lobster isn’t something I cook often and I never order it in restaurants, which is why this once-a-year treat is so special.

This year I went all out with the lobsters, which usually comes out sounding like lobstas. Try saying it out loud like that: lob-stah. Isn’t that more fun than lobster?

Shallot for vinaigrette, before roasting Roasted shallot for vinaigrette

Anyways, I decided to make the day extra special and bought two lobsters, which I then turned into three meals eaten over four days. Of course it took all my restraint not to eat both lobsters at once, but enjoying it in three variations totally paid off.

On New Years day I cooked both lobsters and ate one whole with melted butter and served alongside rice and black eyed peas to symbolize luck in the new year. I cleaned the other lobster and reserved the meat and shells for the remaining two dishes: soup and salad, but not just any soup and salad, these were special.

Grapefruit segments Roasted Shallot Champagne Vinaigrette

The following day I used the shells from both lobsters to make an incredibly rich and fragrant soup (recipe coming soon), and finally an amazing salad, which was a wonderful contrast to the unhealthy and heavy foods I’d eaten during the holidays. The Champagne lobster salad included lobster meat, avocado, grapefruit and a roasted shallot champagne vinaigrette.

I can’t wait to make this salad again next year! In the meantime, I’ll enjoy it with crab meat or shrimp, keeping lobsta a special New Years treat!

Champagne Lobster Salad

Champagne Lobster Salad

Here’s the recipe for Champagne Lobster Salad:

Champagne Lobster Salad, serves 4

Roasted Shallot Champagne Vinaigrette

1 shallot, halved and peeled

1/3 cup plus 1/2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided

2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar

2 tablespoons fresh grapefruit juice

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon honey

1/2 teaspoon salt

Salad

1 1/2 pound lobster, cooked, cooled, and cut into bite-sized pieces*

1 red grapefruit, cut into segments or suprémed

1 avocado, peeled, cored and sliced

6 ounces mixed baby greens

To make the roasted shallot Champagne vinaigrette: Preheat the oven to 275°F. Set the shallot halves on a piece of heavy-duty foil and drizzle with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil. Wrap the foil around the shallot and place in the oven. Roast until soft and fragrant, about 1 hour. Cool to room temperature.

Combine the shallot, Champagne vinegar, grapefruit juice, Dijon mustard, honey and salt in a blender. Pulse until the shallot has been pureed. Slowly drizzle 1/3 cup olive oil into the blender with it running until the vinaigrette has emulsified and all the ingredients have well-combined. Adjust seasonings to taste.

To make the salad, arrange the greens on four plates and top each with equal amounts of the lobster, grapefruit and avocado. Drizzle 1 to 2 tablespoons dressing over each salad.

*To cook the lobster, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Submerge the live lobster into the pot head first and boil for 12 minutes. Remove the lobster from the water and let sit until cool enough to handle, then remove the meat and reserve the shells for another use.

To remove the meat from the lobster:

  1. Begin by twisting off the claws. Crack the knuckles and the claw shell to extract the meat.
  2. Separate the tail from the body and break off the flippers. Use a paring knife or your fingers to break open the underside of the shell, then remove the tail meat in one piece.
  3. Separate the shell from the body. Open the underside of the body by cracking it apart in the middle. Extract the meat from the leg joints by biting near the joints and squeezing out the meat with your teeth, just don’t serve these pieces to other people :)
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