Winter in California this year has been a joke. A beautiful, sun-filled, lets-go-to-the-beach-today joke. For those of you who don’t live or haven’t traveled to Cali, yes we generally do have some form of a winter. Its probably chicago or NY’s version of an early fall, but hey, to us natives, its all we have to gripe about weather-wise.
But this winter has been such a surprise, we’ve probably only had four or five days of rain period, and more warm, sunny days than I can count. I just hope this doesn’t bite us in the ass come summer, with some kind of weird reverse winter in summer effect…
But for now, this is what we’re enjoying
These are the days that I’m truly thankful to live close to the beach. And so are my kids as you can see. We love to go regularly at sunset, and take a walk, collect some seashells, dig a few holes, you get the idea. Its our family time.
So I’ve been in the mood for a little sunshine in a salad, and I think that this next Lobster and Mango combo delivers that. Its actually really elegant, and perfect for an appetizer at a dinner party or a romantic date. Serve it in a martini glass if you really want to make a statement. Best of all, its super easy to throw together, and the lobster salad could be made a day ahead too.
The idea is equal parts mango and lobster.
Chop the fennel bulb in half lengthwise and remove the inner root, then cut long slices keeping the root end intact.
Add fennel, chopped chives, mayonnaise, and a squeeze of lime. A teaspoon or two of heavy cream is also really nice.
After you’ve seasoned the lobster salad with lime juice salt and pepper, go ahead and make the vinaigrette that dresses the butter lettuce.
Lobster Salad: (2 appetizer portions)
Stock up on a few frozen lobster tails next time they go on sale at your local grocery store.
1 ripe mango, about 1 cup chopped
2 3oz lobster tails, also about 1 cup
2 Tablespoons good quality mayonnaise
1-2 teaspoons heavy cream
1-2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro (optional)
2 Tablespoons thinly sliced fennel bulb (or substitute celery)
a few drops of lemon or lime juice
1 teaspoon chopped chives, plus a few stems left for garnish
sprinkle of salt and white pepper
Fill a medium sized pot half full with water and bring to a boil. Add 2 Tablespoons salt and boil lobster tails for 8 minutes on medium heat with the lid on. Once cooked and cool enough to handle, use a pair of kitchen shears to cut through shell and pull out tail meat, break into medium size chunks. Add to a bowl with an equal amount of cubed mango, thinly diced fennel, chopped chives, mayo, and cream. Finish with lime juice, salt and pepper for balance of seasoning. Adding chopped cilantro is nice too, but its not absolutely necessary. Place on a bed of butter lettuce dressed with the following vinaigrette.
Dressing for lettuce:
1 teaspoon lemon or lime
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon minced cilantro (optional)
1/2 tsp honey
1/4 tsp salt and pepper to taste
7-8 butter lettuce leaves
Whisk all the ingredients together, and toss with the lettuce. Spoon some of the lobster salad on top, and sprinkle with a little more chives or cilantro for a pretty finish. For a special occasion try using some wide stemware glasses to hole this salad, or even a little turine, as I did above.