Lobster Lo Mein Salad
- SERVINGS: 4
Asian wheat noodles have a tender texture that befits this delicate salad. Look for dried Chinese lo mein or Japanese somen or hiyamugi noodles. The noodles and fish sauce are available at well-stocked supermarkets and Asian markets, and the seaweed at Asian markets and health food stores.
- Four 1- to 1 1/4 -pound live lobsters or 1 to 1 1/4 pounds cooked lobster meat
- 1 tablespoon dried Japanese hijiki seaweed
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 1/4 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
- 1/4 pound snow peas
- Ice water
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or more to taste
- 5 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
- 2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 pound dried Chinese lo mein noodles
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 cup salted peanuts
- If using live lobsters, plunge them head first into a large saucepan of boiling water and cook until they are bright red all over, about 8 minutes. Using tongs, remove the lobsters to a bowl. When they are cool enough to handle, crack the claws and tail and remove all the meat. Slice the tail and claw meat 1/4 inch thick and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Put the hijiki in a small bowl, add the boiling water and set aside until softened, about 15 minutes. In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce with the 1 teaspoon sugar and 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil. Drain the hijiki and add it to the bowl. Set aside for at least 10 minutes.
- In a medium saucepan of boiling water, blanch the snow peas until bright green, about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the snow peas to the ice water to stop the cooking. Drain and pat dry, then slice the snow peas lengthwise into thin strips.
- In a bowl, combine the garlic, ginger, crushed red pepper, fish sauce, lime juice and the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon sesame oil. Stir in 5 tablespoons of water.
- Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook, stirring, until al dente, about 4 minutes. Drain the noodles in a colander and return them to the saucepan. Fill the pan with cold water and swirl the noodles around, then drain. Repeat the process one more time. Drain the noodles well.
- In a large bowl, combine the noodles with the lobster, snow peas and the hijiki and its marinade. Toss well, using clean hands or tongs. Add the fish sauce dressing and the cilantro leaves, season with pepper and toss well. Turn the salad out onto a large platter, sprinkle the peanuts on top and serve.
A straightforward Riesling with a hint of sweetness will underscore the richness of the lobster and balance the Asian flavors of the seaweed and fish sauce. Consider one from Germany or Washington State.
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Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.