Fast-Forward to Summer with This Refreshing Lobster Salad
While it may not be summer yet, we're certainly ready for it. We're craving fresh seafood, light meals, and bright ingredients, and the salad that chef Ludo Lefebvre prepares on this week’s episode of Ludo à la Maison ticks of all of those boxes and more. Lefebvre walks viewers step-by-step through making his refreshing lobster salad at home, complete with baby greens and fresh fruits like mango, papaya, and cantaloupe (with a little avocado, for good measure).
Check out Lefebvre’s key tips for making the dish below, and get the recipe on his website.
Poach the Lobsters
Lefebvre fills a large pot with water and adds a little bit of salt—not too much, since lobster is already salty. He also adds in vanilla bean seeds, as well as the beans themselves, for flavor. (You can also do bay leaves, thyme, or other herbs, if you’d prefer.) Bring the water to a boil, and cook the lobsters until they're bright red and the meat is opaque. Once they’re done, put them in an ice bath.
Make the Vinaigrette
Grab vanilla bean seeds, two tablespoons of aged balsamic vinegar (big French tablespoons, Lefebvre says), and one tablespoon of honey. Mix them well until they form a paste. Then, slowly add in extra-virgin olive oil, and a little bit of lemon juice—Lefebvre explains you need to have acidity in food. Season with salt and white pepper and mix one more time. (Make sure to taste it!)
Clean the Lobsters
Grabbing plastic gloves, Lefebvre takes the cooked lobsters and prepares to remove the meat from the shells. He starts by taking off the claws and separating the body from the head—you can keep the latter for stock, or use the inside to put in the vinaigrette if you want.
Take the back of a knife and use it to crack the claws, pulling out the meat. As for the tail? Lefebvre uses scissors to crack the shell and take out the meat. As he works, he notes that the most important thing when cleaning lobster is seeing if it’s cooked enough. If it isn’t, it will be impossible to separate from the shell. He encourages for you to cook them very well, “at least six minutes.”
Grab a Melon Baller
After the lobsters are cleaned, Lefebvre grabs a mango and a melon baller—you can also use a measuring spoon, he notes—to create even little orange globes of fruit for the salad. You can juice the leftover mango meat, or eat it as-is so it doesn’t go to waste. Repeat the process for the cantaloupe and papaya as well. (The recipe calls for half a seeded cantaloupe, one mango, and one papaya.)
Take two cups of mixed baby greens and toss them in a bowl with some of the vinaigrette. Transfer to a plate and add a few pieces of lobster, along with some of the fruit balls—Lefebvre also uses the melon baller to scoop out some avocado for added color. With another drizzle of vinaigrette, you’re all set to eat.
Make It Ahead
Per the recipe, the lobsters and the vinaigrette can be prepared up to eight hours beforehand. Keep the lobsters refrigerated, and cover and refrigerate the vinaigrette, too (once you’re ready to use it, bring to room temperature).
Lefebvre makes this week’s accompanying cocktail using Ciroc Peach (Ciroc sponsors his show). Dubbed a Martini Vervain, the drink also includes honey and fresh lemon juice, which Lefebvre adds to a shaker with the Ciroc and ice and shakes to combine. He then strains the mixture in a coupe and garnishes it with a bit of dry vervain.