Warm Lobster Salad with Crispy Lobster/Herb Croquette, White Asparagus & Hungarian Paprika Vinaigrette

Le Cirque, New York City, Pierre Schaedelin - July/August 2006

For 4 servings

Lobster/herb croquettes:

• 4 1-lb. lobsters
• 1/4 cup unsalted butter
• 2 Tbsps. chives, roughly chopped
• 2 Tbsps. dill, roughly chopped
• 2 Tbsps. chervil, roughly chopped
• 1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
• salt
• black pepper, freshly ground
• 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
• 1 egg, beaten
• 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

  1. Cook lobsters in boiling water; shock in ice bath; separate tails and claws; remove all meat; reserve 2 heads for vinaigrette; discard remaining shells; reserve tail, claw, and knuckle meat separately.

  2. Chop knuckle meat; combine in a bowl with butter, herbs, and bread crumbs; season.

  3. Divide mixture in fourths; roll into balls; dredge in flour; dip in egg; coat with panko; reserve in refrigerator.

Vinaigrette:

• 2 Tbsps. olive oil
• 1/2 cup tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and cut into brunoise
• 1/2 cup fennel bulb, cut into brunoise
• 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
• 1 tsp. Hungarian paprika
• 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
• salt
• black pepper, freshly ground
• lemon juice

  1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat; crack lobster heads; place lobster heads, tomato, and fennel in the skillet; cover with parchment paper circle; sweat 5 minutes; remove paper; cover with water; simmer 15 minutes; remove from heat; pass through fine chinois into clean saucepan; discard solids.

  2. Reduce to 1 cup; remove from heat; cool; add mustard and paprika; transfer to a blender; blend on slow speed; drizzle in oil; season with salt, pepper, and juice; reserve.

Assembly:

• oil (for frying)
• 12 white asparagus, trimmed and blanched until tender
• baby arugula

  1. Heat oil in deep fryer to 375°F.

  2. Halve lobster tails lengthwise; warm in a skillet set over low heat with asparagus and 2 Tbsps. vinaigrette; remove from heat; reserve (keep warm).

  3. Deep fry croquettes until golden; remove with a spider; place on paper towels to drain.

  4. To serve, arrange 3 asparagus spears on each plate; place 2 tail halves over; top with claws; garnish with some arugula; top with 1 croquette.

What to drink: white Burgundy