Cook the Book: Corn, Tomato, and Lobster Salad

[Photograph: Caroline Russock]

After a few weeks of working with beautiful summer produce I'm starting to think that it's almost too easy to cook this time of year. The fruits and vegetables that I've brought home recently taste so good that there's no need to mess around with complicated recipes and techniques that would heat up the kitchen more than necessary. That being said, it's no surprise that I have been eating a lot of salads lately, and those salads have been comprised of mostly corn, tomatoes, and greens lightly dressed with nothing more than salt, pepper, lemon juice, and olive oil.

I was delighted to come across this Corn, Tomato, and Lobster Salad in Farm to Fork by Emeril Lagasse since it was a fancy riff on the salad that I had happily been enjoying for weeks. And the addition of lobster to already fantastic summer corn and tomatoes couldn't be anything short of magical.

Lobster might seem like the ultimate indulgence but in the this salad a single lobster goes a long way.

It's poached in a heady broth of white wine, fresh tomatoes, onions, and tarragon, and then placed in an ice bath to chill. Once the lobster is cooled through it is broken down into bite-sized pieces, then mixed with raw corn kernels and juicy heirloom tomatoes in a lemony Champagne vinaigrette with the slightest touch of cayenne.

Emeril claims that this recipe serves four but anytime you're dealing with lobster (and corn and tomatoes for that matter) folks tend to get a little greedy. This salad "for four" served two of us for dinner and left us wondering whether we should have added an extra lobster and a few more ears of corn into the mix.

Win Farm to Fork

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Farm to Fork to give away this week.

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Cook the Book: Corn, Tomato, and Lobster Salad

About This Recipe

Yield:4

Ingredients

  • 2 cups roughly chopped ripe tomatoes
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup thinly sliced onions
  • 3 black peppercorns
  • 2 sprigs fresh tarragon
  • One 1½-pound lobster
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallot or red onions
  • 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup plus ½ teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1¼ cups silver Queen (or other regional variety) fresh corn kernels (from about 2 ears)
  • 1 pint mixed tiny heirloom tomatoes, such as cherry, cherub, grape, or pear, of different
  • colors and sizes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 8 bibb lettuce leaves, rinsed and patted dry
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Procedures

  1. 1

    Fill a large bowl with ice and cold water, and set it aside.

  2. 2

    In a 4- or 6-quart Dutch oven, or other heavy bottomed pot with a tight-fitting lid, combine the chopped tomatoes, wine, water, onions, peppercorns, and tarragon sprigs. Bring to a boil over high heat, uncovered; then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.

  3. 3

    Raise the heat to high, add the lobster to the pot, and cover the pot immediately with a heavy, tight-fitting lid. Steam the lobster for 13 minutes, until it is bright red and the long feelers are easily removed from their sockets. Immediately plunge the lobster into the bowl of ice water, and let it cool for 5 minutes.

  4. 4

    Remove the lobster from the ice water and set it on a rimmed baking sheet. Using kitchen shears, remove the lobster meat from the tail and claws. Use a knife to chop the lobster meat into bite- size pieces. You should have about 1 cup; set it aside.

  5. 5

    In a medium nonreactive mixing bowl, combine the shallot, vinegar, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Whisk in the 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and the cayenne. Add the corn kernels and mix together. Set aside for 10 minutes.

  6. 6

    Cut the tiniest heirloom tomatoes in half, and quarter the larger ones. Add the tomatoes to the corn mixture. Add the lobster, tarragon, and parsley, and mix gently to combine.

  7. 7

    In a medium bowl, gently mix the Bibb lettuce leaves with the remaining ½ teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, and season them lightly with salt and black pepper. Stack 2 lettuce leaves on each of four plates. Divide the lobster salad evenly among the lettuce cups, and serve immediately.

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