Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Warm Lobster Salad

Inspired by Eric Ripert’s (Le Bernardin) recipe, this warm lobster salad is a sure thing to impress guests. Lobster is always respected, and the convenience of being able to do most of the work hours ahead of time is very precious when entertaining.  

If serving as an appetizer, plan on one half lobster per person. If it is a main course, use a lobster per person.
(for 8 people)
4 One Pound Lobsters (alive!)
1 cup Lobster or Seafood Stock
8 cups of Mixed Baby Greens (mesclun, arugala, frisee, spinach, etc).washed and dried
Salt & Pepper
1 Teaspoon Fresh Lemon Juice
1 Shallot peeled and diced
For the Vinaigrette
1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon of fine sea salt
1½ tablespoon of Red Wine Vinegar
1½ tablespoon of Sherry Wine Vinegar
¼ cup + 1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
¼ cup of corn oil

Killing the Lobsters
Ask your fishmonger to kill the lobsters and cut them for you (you want the tails and the claws). If you must buy them a day in advance, get them live, place in the refrigerator overnight and do the slaughtering yourself. Place the live lobster on a cutting board holding it firmly with your left hand (if you are right handed) where the tail meets the head. With your other hand hold a large knife vertically over the lobster, with the tip at the point where the vertical and horizontal crease in the lobster head intersect. Quickly thrust the knife straight through the head until the tip touches the cutting board then cut through the head. The lobster will die immediately, though it may still move..
Poaching the Lobster.
Twist off the claws and the tails. (You may save the head and legs to make or improve a stock.). Run a skewer through the meat of the tail to keep it straight during cooking and wrap the tail tightly in plastic wrap. Bring a few inches of water to boil in a large wide pot. Place the lobster tail (in the plastic) into the boiling water. Two minutes later add the claws and poach for 4 more minutes.  Drain and cool and then shell the meat.  Cut the tails in half lengthwise and the claw meat in ¼ inch strips. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate the meat.
Preparing the Sauce
In a saucepan over high heat bring the stock to a boil, lower heat to medium and allow to simmer until it reduces to 1/3 cup.(about 10 minutes). Put sauce in a bowl and allow to cool. Make ½ cup of vinaigrette by whisking together the mustard, salt and pepper and vinegars. Continue whisking while slowly drizzling in the oils. When done drizzle  vinaigrette to the cooled reduced stock, whisking to ensure that it emulsifies. . Cover tightly and refrigerate until you are ready to use.

Up to this point everything can be done early in the day. Just before serving pull it together:

Preheat oven to 500F. 
Put the salad greens in a bowl and toss with the shallot, tarragon, salt, pepper and lemon juice. Add 6 tablespoons of the sauce and toss again. Spread the lobster on a cookie sheet, drizzle some of the remaining sauce on each peace and place in the hot oven until it is warmed through (about 1 minute). Plate the salads and  lobster garnish and serve immediately.

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