Champagne Poached Lobster Salad with a Champagne-Caviar Vinaigrette
- 2 (1 1/2-pound) live lobsters
- 1 (750 ml) bottle extra-dry Champagne
- 1/2 cup sliced shallots, plus 1 tablespoon minced shallots
- 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 5 sprigs fresh tarragon, plus 1 tablespoon chopped
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 to 3 teaspoons caviar
- 6 ounces mache salad mix or other microgreen salad mix
- 1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
- 1 ripe avocado, diced
Set a large 2 to 3 gallon stockpot filled with water over high heat and bring to a boil. Immerse the lobsters in the boiling water and cook for 3 minutes. Remove the lobsters from the pot and immediately plunge into an ice water bath. Once the lobsters are cool enough to handle, remove from the water and place on a clean kitchen towel draped over a cutting board.
Twist the tails off the lobsters, and cut the tails in half using a large chef's knife (score along the length of the tail), remove the meat from the shells. Set the cut tails aside, and crack the shells of the claws to remove the meat. Place the lobster meat aside as you prepare the poaching liquid.
Add the champagne, sliced shallots, 1 teaspoon of garlic, the bay leaf, peppercorns, lemon juice, orange zest, kosher salt, and tarragon sprigs to a 3-quart, straight-sided saute pan. Bring the contents of the pan to a boil, and reduce to a very low heat (bubbles forming on the bottom of the pan that rise slowly and gently will indicate the proper temperature). Place the lobster meat in the poaching liquid and cook, partially covered, until the meat is cooked through, about 6 to 8 minutes.
Remove the lobster from the pan and chill until ready to serve the salad. Increase the heat to high, bring the poaching liquid to a boil, and reduce the liquid to 2 tablespoons, about 10 minutes. Strain and reserve the poaching liquid through a fine-meshed sieve into a medium-sized mixing bowl.
Place a small saute pan over medium heat and add the 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the minced shallots to the pan and cook until translucent, about 1 minute. Deglaze the pan with the orange juice. Once the juice has almost evaporated, pour the mixture into the bowl with the reduced poaching liquid. Using a whisk, combine the liquid with the shallots and add the mustard, honey, Champagne vinegar, and pepper. Continue whisking vigorously while you slowly drizzle the extra-virgin olive oil into the bowl. Add the caviar and chopped tarragon to the vinaigrette.
Combine the mache salad mix, tomatoes and avocadoes in a large mixing bowl. Chop the reserved lobster meat into bite-sized pieces and add to the salad. Drizzle about 6 to 8 tablespoons of the dressing over the salad, and toss to combine. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper, if needed. Plate the salad on 4 salad plates and serve immediately.
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