Radicchio and Lobster Salad

There is something irresistible about the radicchio and endive families, especially when paired with lobster. My favorites are the three from Treviso (excluding the fourth, the rounded one with compact leaves called Chioggia, which one sees most often)—the incredibly beautiful lettuce-shaped one that is creamy light green with purple shot through it (Castelfranco), the slightly blanched one with small leaves called Treviso tardivo, and the full Belgian endive-shaped one with big long leaves called radicchio di Treviso rosso precoce—and red or white Belgian endive (Cichorium intybus).

Add hazelnut oil, tarragon, and a whisper of garlic, and you have an instant and outstanding Saturday lunch.

Please remember to cut the radicchio and endive at the last minute so they will not brown.

The lobster essence and the steelhead eggs push the dish way up the satisfaction scale, but don’t dismiss the salad if you do not have them.

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Ingredients

  • 2 radicchios of Treviso, either the late-season one or the long-leafed one, or regular radicchio
  • 2 Belgian endives
  • 1 cup cooked Maine lobster meat (method II)
  • 4 ounces fresh steelhead eggs
  • 1 tablespoon lobster essence
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon finely chopped garlic
  • 20 leaves fresh tarragon
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons hazelnut oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

Mix the lobster essence, lemon juice, garlic, tarragon, and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl. Whisk in the oils.

Cut the bottom cores out of the Treviso radicchios and endives. Trim away any brown spots, and pull the Treviso and endive leaves apart. Cut the leaves of the endive one-third lengthwise into long thin strips and leave the Treviso leaves whole.

Put the Treviso leaves in a salad bowl and pour one-third of the dressing over them. Toss gently, then arrange them in a circle like spokes of a wheel, curved side down, on four chilled plates. Put the endive strips in the bowl and pour another third of the dressing over them. Toss gently, and put the endive in the center of the circle of Treviso leaves.

Put the lobster meat in the bowl and dress with the remaining sauce. Put the lobster on top of the endive, and spoon the steelhead eggs onto the Treviso leaves.

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