Skye Gyngell’s Lobster Salad With Fennel And Blood Oranges


The clean crunch of fennel and winter leaves, such as Castelfranco or frisée, complement the sweet, rich flesh of lobster in this salad, and the sweet, citric taste of blood oranges rounds off the dish perfectly.

Crab also works well here, so you could substitute it for the lobster. These quantities are sufficient for a starter; to serve as a lunch or main course, allow one lobster each.

2 very fresh, live lobsters, each about 500g
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 lemon
50ml mild-tasting extra virgin olive oil, (such as Sicilian or Ligurian)
3 blood oranges
1/2 castelfranco lettuce or frisee
1 fennel bulb
bunch young, tender agretti or rocket
small bunch chervil, stems removed
aged balsamic vinegar, to drizzle

1 Keep the lobsters covered with a damp cloth in the fridge and cook soon after buying. An hour or so before cooking, place them in the freezer – the intense cold will send them into a deep sleep.
2 When ready to cook the lobsters, put a large pot of well-salted water on to boil – it should be almost as salty as the sea. When it comes to a rolling boil, drop in the lobsters and cook for 8 minutes exactly.
3 The timing is important, as lobster meat is not at all good if it is overcooked. Remove the lobsters from the pan with a pair of tongs and set aside until they are cool enough to handle.
4 To remove the meat from the shell, first twist off the claws and tap the thickest part of these with a rolling pin to crack them open. Gently remove the claw shell, leaving the flesh intact if possible and reserve for serving.
5 Now lay the body on its back on a board and, using a very sharp, large knife, cut through the middle of the soft underbelly to slice the tail meat in half lengthways. You should then be able to remove the outer shell (rather like removing a coat). Season the flesh with a squeeze of lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil and a little salt and pepper.
6 Using a paring knife, cut away the skin and white pith from the blood oranges, then slice crossways into 3mm thick pinwheels. Separate the Castelfranco or frisée leaves, leaving small ones whole and roughly tearing larger ones, then wash and gently pat dry.
7 Remove the tough outer layer of the fennel bulb, then halve lengthways. Now slice each half lengthways into fine slices and squeeze over a few drops of lemon juice to stop them discolouring.
8 To assemble the salad, place the fennel, Castelfranco or frisée, agretti or rocket, and chervil leaves in a bowl with the lobster meat and toss lightly. Dress with the remaining lemon juice and olive oil. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.
9 Divide the salad among serving plates and arrange the blood orange slices on top. Finish with the reserved lobster claw flesh and drizzle with a little aged balsamic to serve.

Recipe courtesy of Skye Gyngell, extracted from My Favourite Ingredients

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