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Lobster Salad on a Bun or Not
But, make it an aioli summer...
Did you know that Canada is the biggest lobster importer in the entire world? They take it very seriously around here in Nova Scotia. Chase’s Lobster just up the road from the house sells them live, steamed an an option just for the meat. I am pleased with this arrangement given that I love lobster as much as I do.
In Colu Cooks: Easy Fancy Food, I share a recipe for lobster salad. I urge you to make aioli for this recipe, which I’ve also included. Truthfully, I cannot stop making aioli this summer. It makes its way onto BLT’s, used as a dip for grilled shrimp as well as for roasted potatoes (more on that soon), and stirred into any herby sauces that needed using up. It’s a gift that keeps on giving. Make it and let me know what you think.
Lobster meat is a luxury, I realize. I’ve spoken before about my good friend Charlotte’s company Scout, who sells tinned lobster, which although is currently sold out, is worth the splurge should you want to make this recipe without the fuss of boiling a lobster. It’s also great in pasta and on pizzas.
A glimpse of where we are in Nova Scotia
Lobster Salad on a Bun or Not
It isn’t summer without eating lobster at least once, or a number of times if you are so fortunate. And so, on the beloved ramshackle deck that looks onto the Peconic, attached to the house my dad rents in Hampton Bays, this salad came to be. It’s a simple lobster salad, but I like to treat myself and take the extra step of making aioli for it. I’ve given instructions on how to cook your lobster below, but to save on time, you can have your fishmonger do it for you. I like eating this salad on soft, tender lettuces with an assortment of items surrounding it, such as thick wedges of tomato, avocado, jammy eggs, and blanched green beans, with some more aioli on the side for dipping. Chad likes his served on a toasted buttered bun. However you like to eat it, please do so outside, overlooking the water.
1 pound (455 g) lobster meat, picked from four
11⁄2-pound (680 g) lobsters or eight 3-ounce (85 g)
3 to 4 tablespoons (45 to 60 ml) Aioli (recipe below) or
1 medium stalk celery, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh tarragon
2 teaspoons minced fresh chives
1 lemon halved
Your choice of soft butter lettuce, wedges of tomato,
avocado, jammy eggs, blanched string beans, or
toasted buttered buns, for serving
Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Drop the lobster in the pot (if you are boiling whole lobsters, you will need to do these two at a time) and cook until the shells are bright red and the meat is opaque, 9 to 10 minutes. If you’re using tails, they take 5 to 6 minutes to cook. Remove and place on a rimmed sheet pan to cool. With kitchen shears, a mallet, or lobster crackers, crack the shells and remove the meat, slicing it into ½ - to ¾ -inch (12 mm to 2 cm) pieces. I like to keep them on the larger end. Luxury! In a bowl, gently toss together the lobster meat with the aioli until just combined. I don’t like the dressing to be overly clingy, as it can overpower the sweetness of the lobster meat, which is the star. Add the celery, tarragon, and chives and toss again. Season to taste with salt and the lemon juice. Serve on a platter with soft butter lettuce and wedges of tomato, avocado, jammy eggs, and blanched string beans, or be like Chad and put it on a toasted buttered bun.
Aioli with Options
Making your own aioli takes patience, a trait for which I am not known, but when the task is complete, it is well worth the reward. Go incredibly slow (slower than you think) when adding in the oil to help avoid breaking the emulsification. I’ve broken a few aiolis in my time and it’s no fun to try and mend them, especially for that poor arm that’s been relentlessly whisking away as you pray that it won’t break. This recipe is for a classic, creamy, and bright version, but I’ve also offered suggestions on ingredients that would make nice additions should you choose to add them.
1 egg yolk, at room temperature
1 clove garlic, grated or pressed
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, plus more if needed
1⁄4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1 cup (240 ml) olive oil or canola oil or a combination of both
In a metal bowl, whisk together the egg yolk, garlic, salt, and lemon juice. In a very slow, steady stream (starting with mere drops), patiently whisk in the oil until it thickens and emulsifies. If it becomes too thick, add in a few drops of cold water or lemon juice and keep going. If the mixture looks too thin, whisk without adding additional oil for a minute or so. Once all the oil has been emulsified, taste and season with more salt and lemon juice if needed. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Joshie last week.
In closing, we lost our beautiful 18-year-old dog Joshie late last week and it’s been very sad around these parts. He lived a beautiful, long life, but I’m devastated nonetheless. If you have a dog, a cat or any animal for that matter, give them an extra squeeze for me today.