As you may have guessed, the ingredients that went into this salad are reflective of my winter habitat–South Florida. This was the perfect light lunch, inspired by some of the many wonderful ingredients at my local farmers’ market.
I’ve opted for Maine lobster here, rather than Florida lobster. The Maine variety is much sweeter and more tender, and includes claws and knuckles.
Florida lobster doesn’t have claws–only tails and tiny legs. Moreover, the fish monger at the farmers’ market had Maine lobster meat, already perfectly poached and taken out of its shell–it was sweet, tender, and made this salad a cinch to prepare.
The salad greens–mizuna and arugula, as well as green beans, were local. The Florida green beans were a revelation–among the sweetest and greenest-tasting I’ve had.
The avocado was the Florida variety–large, light-green and waxy-looking, with flesh that was so feathery light, it tasted like avocado mousse. Worth using, if you can find it–otherwise, California avocado will do just fine.
The sum total of this dish depends on the near perfection of each ingredient, since none of these ingredients are processed or handled heavily. The poached lobster meat is combined with chopped celery, chives, lemon and olive oil. The green beans are blanched and shocked. The avocadoes are cubed and tossed with salt and lemon juice (last-minute only); mangoes are cubed and tossed with lime juice (which heightens their flavor).
Over the entire dish, I drizzle a fresh lemon-infused olive oil, although if you couldn’t find a commercially prepared lemon oil, a few curls of lemon zest over the whole dish, would have a similarly bright effect.
The beauty of this dish is that the ingredients may be prepared ahead, and merely assembled at the last moment. All that is necessary to complete this meal is good bread and butter.
Tropical Lobster Salad
serves 4 as a main course
1 lb cooked lobster meat
2 ribs celery, peeled if stringy
2 tsp fresh chopped chives
1/4 c + 2 tbls extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 lb green beans, stems and tails removed
2 ripe mangoes, peeled and diced into 1/2″ cubes
1 Florida avocado, or 2 California avocados, peeled and diced into 1/2″ cubes
approximately 1 lb mixed bitter salad greens, such as arugula and/or mizuna
juice of 2 lemons
juice of 2 limes
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbls lemon-infused olive oil for drizzling, or 2 tbls additional extra-virgin olive oil and the zest of 1 lemon
In a mixing bowl, combine lobster, celery, chives, 1/4 cup oil, juice of 1 lemon, salt and pepper to taste.
Set aside and refrigerate until ready to use (may be made up to a day in advance).
Drop green beens into boiling salted water for approximately 5 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Run under cold water to stop cooking process, then drain. Toss with a teaspoon of olive oil and salt to taste. Set aside until ready to assemble salad.
Toss mango pieces with lime juice and set aside until ready to assemble salad.
Dress greens with remaining lemon juice and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Pile greens onto the center of large plates, then add lobster salad in center. Arrange remaining ingredients in clusters around the plate. Drizzle with lemon-infused olive oil or lemon zest and additional plain extra-virgin olive oil.