This cellophane-noodle salad, with creamy avocados, crunchy peanuts and a chile-honey dressing, is an excellent showcase for Caribbean spiny lobsters. Also known as rock lobsters, they are sweet but can be slightly dense. This recipe uses Maine lobsters; they're more tender than spiny lobsters—and just as delicious.
More Recipes by Jean-Georges Vongerichten
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 large shallots, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper
1 fresh long red chile
3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus lime wedges, for serving
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon elderflower cordial (see Note)
1 teaspoon sambal oelek (see Note)
1/4 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
Three 1 1/2-pound live lobsters
One 3 1/2-ounce package dried cellophane noodles
2 large Hass avocados, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1/4 cup chopped salted roasted peanuts
2 tablespoons thinly sliced mint leaves
2 tablespoons thinly sliced cilantro leaves
How to Make It
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. In a small skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic, shallots and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the garlic and shallots are golden, 7 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl.
Roast the red pepper and chile directly over a gas flame or under a preheated broiler, turning occasionally, until charred all over. Transfer to a plate and let cool. Peel the pepper and chile and discard the stems and seeds; cut into 1/4-inch dice and transfer to the bowl with the shallot mixture. Stir in the fish sauce, lime juice, honey, elderflower cordial, sambal oelek and sesame oil. Season the dressing with salt.
Add the lobsters to the boiling water head first and cook until bright red all over, 6 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the lobsters to a large rimmed baking sheet and let cool.
Crack the lobster claws and knuckles and remove the meat. Using scissors, cut along the underside of the tail shells and remove the meat. Remove and discard the dark intestinal veins from the tails. Cut the tails and claws into 1-inch chunks.
Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. In a medium heatproof bowl, cover the cellophane noodles with warm water and let stand until pliable, about 10 minutes. Drain the noodles. Using scissors, cut them into 3-inch lengths. Add the noodles to the saucepan and cook until al dente, about 1 minute. Drain and transfer to a platter.
Scatter the lobster and avocados over the cellophane noodles. Drizzle with the chile-honey dressing. Garnish with the peanuts, mint, cilantro and lime wedges and serve right away.
The cooked lobster meat and chile-honey dressing can be refrigerated separately overnight.
Elderflower cordial is a nonalcoholic beverage sold at specialty-food markets and online at chefswarehouse.com. Sambal oelek, an Indonesian chile sauce, is available at Asian markets and specialty-food stores.
Look for a pale rosé with crisp acidity and berry-rich fruit to pair with Asian-influenced dishes like this one that are tart, spicy and sweet at the same time.
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