This week was my birthday. On the morning of January the 3rd, the sky view from my window was so extraordinary and unusual that I decided that this week will have to be as exceptional on all levels. Those colors reminded me of the skies of Tahiti when days were expected to be windy, and I guess I was right to recall of this because we finished that day in Nice with a weird storm combining a warm atmosphere with incoming ice cold winds.
For my birthday dinner, my husband took me to a gourmet restaurant in Nice, Les Deux Canailles, which we already had gone to last year for another occasion, and loved. The place is a Mediterranean and Japanese fusion style restaurant. The 5 courses “Menu Degustation” was new except for the perfect and extraordinary signature dish of Wagyu beef. All in all, the whole meal was beyond excellent, service was impeccable, and the Chef, as always, showed great humility and respect to the food he had served to us. Special mention to the incredibly flavorsome and surprising entrée of artichokes and Japanese algaes carpaccio, that I now must figure out by all means how to re-create at home.
When I get to eating gourmet cuisine, be pretty sure that during the following days I’d be willing to cook noble products myself too. So as the week started off so well, I quickly decided to end it equally well, with a meal I’d cook at home during the weekend for lunch, while we’d be watching Biathlon on TV. I opted for Lobster, Maine-style. Or kinda. I used the basic recipe ingredients, but added several of mine to give it more consistency, flavors and textures. And although in Maine lobster is preferred in a roll, I deconstructed the original recipe and reconstructed one of my own.
Americans in Maine eat lobster in a roll and call it Maine lobster roll though others call it lobster salad roll (as opposed to just lobster roll in Connecticut). Indeed, there are two main differences in the way lobster is eaten in both States: temperature and choice of “fat” that coats the lobster meat. In Connecticut, the lobster is served warm tossed in a roll which sides can be toasted with garlic and melted butter. In Maine, the lobster meat is cold (thus the term “salad” that is used by some visitors), and is tossed in a roll with mayonnaise, aromatics and celery.
I made a lobster salad but without the roll, and of course I added my own trick. Wait for it. I thought a world food challenge could not go too much afar from a recipe’s original version, therefore I decided not to discard the bread. As I said, I didn’t make a roll but my own special salad, deconstructing the concept of Maine Lobster Salad Roll by using the bread not as a roll but as croutons. The bread was not anymore around the salad, but inside the salad. Buttery croutons with garlic inclusions, made from leftovers of my challah bread from last shabbath, yum that was delicious! I also added avocado because I love it so much and thought it would pair well with the thick lobster meat. This dish was a real success, I adored it and would eat some over and over again in the future, pure deliciousness. Happy birthday to me!
INGREDIENTS (for 2 servings)
- 2 Lobsters
- 3 celery stalks
- 1 avocado
- 1 tbsp of mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp of chopped parsley
- a dash of lemon juice
- leftover bread to make croutons
- salt, pepper
- 2 tbsp of olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 tbsp of butter for the croutons only
- Cook the lobster or let it defrost by itself if you purchased it frozen.
- Shell the lobster.
- Try to keep the claws intact and cut the rest of the meat into bite size chunks.
- Mince the celery stalks into approximately 7 mm dices.
- Dice the avocado.
- Chop the parsley.
- Toss all the previous ingredients in a salad bowl.
- Add the dash of lemon juice and the mayonnaise, then combine it all.
- Reserve in the fridge while you take care of the next steps.
- Dice the bread the size you like your croutons.
- Put the bread in a salad bowl, salt and pepper, and drizzle olive oil Toss well.
- Mince the garlic.
- Heat butter in a pan. Start frying the garlic and immediately throw the bread over. Toss well so that the garlic gets “stuck” to the bread croutons. Control the heat so that the croutons don’t turn black but still get grilled on all sides.
- When croutons are ready, let them cool a little while before topping the delicious Lobster Salad.
- Combine the croutons with the salad no more than 10 minutes before serving if you don’t want to loose all their crunchiness.
- Serve as is, or with a side of peppery French fries, Maine-style, with a clear view over the sea (that would have to do with luck, and not at all with your cooking skills). Enjoy !!!!!
Created and Written by Sophie Rebibo-Halimi. © 2018 All Rights Reserved.