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Salade Niçoise with Lobster

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Ingredients


Serves 4 to 6

4 lobster tails, approximately 6 to 8 ounces from Maine or Canada
1/2 pound fingerling potatoes, small red potatoes, or similar potatoes, scrubbed, but not peeled
1/2 pound haricots verts, or green beens, ends trimmed and cleaned
4 to 6 large eggs
3 or 4 ripe tomatoes, vine ripened, cored and cut into wedges, or 2 cups small cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 red onion thinly sliced
2 tablespoons capers
6 anchovies, rinsed if packed in salt
3 or 4 marinated artichoke hearts, drained and cut into quarters
4 to 6 small radishes, cleaned, trimmed and thinly sliced
About 1/3 cup of Nicoise olives, Picholine  olives, or a mixture of both, or your favorite olives
Several sprigs of fresh basil,
Mache, arugula, watercress or lettuce of your choice (enough to cover serving plate)


Vinaigrette

3/4 cup of extra-virgn olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar or Sherry vinegar (you can vary the 3 to 1 ratio to your taste)
1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Chopped fresh tarragon, to taste, about 2 to 4 teaspoons (you can add or substitute other fresh herbs such fresh basil, chives or Italian parsley)  
2 shallots, finely minced
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method


Vinaigrette

Whisk together the vinegar, Dijon mustard, with a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.  Add the olive oil in a slow stream, whisking until emulsified.  Taste and adjust the seasoning or ratio of vinegar to olive oil.  The chopped tarragon or other fresh herbs and shallots should not be added until just before serving.

The vinaigrette can be prepared 2 or 3 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator (without fresh herbs and shallots).  If refrigerated, let the dressing sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes and whisk before adding fresh herbs and serving.  


Lobster Tails

To cook the lobster tails, bring water to boil in a large pot with a steamer basket and steam the lobster tails for about 1 minute, per ounce of lobster.  The cooking time will vary with the size of the tails and the method used.  

A good description of the timing and various cooking options for lobster can be found at the Cooking Fishmonger blog.  When the lobster tails are finished steaming, immediately place them in a large bowl of ice water and let them cool for about 5 minutes.  Crack the shells and discard. Remove the meat, and roughly chop.

This can be done in advance and the lobster refrigerated until ready to serve.   


Boiled Eggs  

Cover the eggs with salted water in a sauce pan, bring to a rolling boil, remove from the heat, cover tightly and let them sit in the warm water for about 12 to 13 minutes. Drain and add to a bowl of ice water.  Let them cool in the ice water for about 5 minutes crack and peel under cold running water.  

Cut the eggs in half.  You can do this in advance.  

Place in a bowl, cover with plastic warp and refrigerate until ready to serve.  


Haricots vert

Steam until they are bright green and tender, but still have a bit of crunch, about 3 to 4 minutes, depending on the thickness and freshness of the beans.   Place into an ice bath to stop the cooking and preserve the color.  Let the beans cool completely in the ice water for about 2 minutes, then drain and dry.  

The beans can be done in advance, warped in plastic wrap and refrigerated until ready to serve.   

Potatoes

Steam the potatoes until they are fork tender, but not too soft, they should be a little firm, about 15 to 20 minutes. Leave the skins on or peel if you prefer, and cut into 1/2 inch slices or chunks.  

Gently toss the warm potatoes with several tablespoons of the vinaigrette (without the fresh herbs and shallots) to lightly coat the potatoes.   Add a pinch of sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste.  Let sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes to allow the potatoes to absorb the flavor of the dressing.  Just prior to serving, add the chopped fresh tarragon and shallots or other herbs to the vinaigrette, whisk until thoroughly blended.  Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.   Toss the potatoes gently with a bit more of the tarragon vinaigrette. Taste and add more vinaigrette if necessary.  

The potatoes can be done in advance, and refrigerated, if necessary.  They should be brought to room temperature, about 30 minutes, before adding the additional dressing with fresh herbs and shallots.  


Tomatoes, onions and capers
 
Place the cut tomatoes, sliced red onion and capers in a mixing bowl.  Add about a tablespoon of vinaigrette (without the fresh herbs), a pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.  Toss ingredients and let sit for about 30 minutes at room temperature for the flavors to develop.  

Taste the potatoes and tomatoes, adjust seasoning and dressing (with herbs & shallots) to your taste.

Toss the haricots verts and then the mache, with a bit of the vinaigrette (with herbs & shallots) to very lightly coat.

Place the mache on a serving platter and arrange the potatoes, tomatoes, haricots verts, boiled eggs, artichokes, olives, radishes, lobster and anchovies around the plate. Garnish with the basil leaves.  Drizzle a bit of the dressing over the salad and serve the remaining dressing on the side.  Serve with a crisp, dry white wine, such as a Sauvignon Blanc from France or New Zealand or a Provencal rosé.