Lobster salad, anyone? Sure, this isn’t your standard lobster salad — but maybe it’s time to think outside the shell with avocado, red peppers and feta cheese. A tangy lemon vinaigrette brings the flavors together in an unforgettable summer salad. But first let’s talk lobster.
Whenever we pass the lobster tanks at our local grocery store, Paige asks to stop and watch them for a moment. She’s fascinated by the clawed critters and their watery home. But for her, lobsters are only to be admired through the glass. Although she enjoys the flavor of lobster meat, she won’t eat it because she’s deemed lobsters too scary to eat — even when the meat is removed from the shell. And it’s been that way for several years now (remember, she’s only five — this started early). She simply won’t eat lobster because it’s a lobster.
That’s okay. More for Will and me.
There are so many reasons that people pass up foods. Sometimes it’s ideological. Other times, it’s physical — whether an allergy, an intolerance or an aversion. And then there are the times when it’s psychological. The assumption that we don’t like something can hold us back from ever enjoying it. In Paige’s case, it doesn’t matter that she actually likes lobster meat. She doesn’t want to eat that particular creature. Too bad for chickens that she doesn’t feel the same affinity for them.
I am as guilty as anyone of putting food into little habit compartments. There are things I avoid like most white condiments, though they no longer are quite as hated as they once were. Aside from Thanksgiving, I never make a full turkey and don’t often reach for turkey parts to roast. And big spiral hams? They are strictly for Christmas and Easter. Every year. Even my Creme Brulee French Toast only makes appearances at very specific times (Easter, and big events by request only).
It’s probably not a bad thing that we aren’t digging into that decadent French toast weekly. It’s also totally okay that Paige doesn’t want to eat lobsters because she’s seen them alive. However when food preferences and traditions dip too much into pigeon-holing foods, we miss out on some wonderful flavors and textures. Perhaps it’s time to rethink our self-imposed food rules.
Once upon a time, the only way I ate lobster was freshly cooked. I would pluck the meat out of the lobster shell and dip it into melted butter. Even after I had my first lobster roll as a tween, I felt like lobster was really only for shell cracking, messy, buttery dinners. But age and time has given me a whole new perspective. Beyond my beloved Connecticut-style lobster rolls served hot and buttery on a hot dog bun, I have discovered how amazing lobster is in soups, salad and more. Lobster doesn’t need to be drowned in butter to be delicious (and for those of you who love the Maine-style lobster rolls, it doesn’t need to be drowned in mayo either). In fact, with a light, tangy bit of lemon, it’s pretty amazing on its own.
Yes, I love lobster a little bit.
This lobster salad is summer on a plate. Loaded with creamy avocados, crisp red bell peppers, salty feta cheese and kalamata olives and, of course, the sweet-savory chunks of fresh lobster meat, it’s filling but still light. Digging into this salad is a decadent pleasure without all the guilt. Served on a bed of smooth, mild Bibb lettuce, it’s a perfect summer salad.
And the crux that brings all the flavors and textures together? The easy homemade lemon vinaigrette. Just divine.
Lobster, Avocado and Feta Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
- 8 cups torn Boston Bibb lettuce
- 2 avocadoes diced
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 4 ounces feta cheese cubed or crumbled
- 1/2 cup kalamata olives
- 1 lb cooked lobster meat chopped
- 1 lemon juiced
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Arrange the lettuce on four places. Top with 1/4 of the avocado, red bell pepper, feta cheese and olives. Top each with 1/4 lb of lobster.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper until emulsified. Drizzle over the salads.
- Enjoy immediately.
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. Her latest cookbook is The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook, published by Rockridge Press, which focuses on quick, easy, from-scratch cooking for busy people. A single mother to two kids in middle school, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.