Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Watercress Salad with Dragon Fruit, Lobster and Sauce Verte







     A Refreshing Summer Salad!
     Spicy salad greens taste nice with seafood or fruit.  Watercress has a zesty black pepper flavor, so this spicy salad green is a good choice for a salad made with Dragon Fruit and lobster.
     Spiny Lobster Tail is a bit too pricy for making a casual café style summer salad.  Maine Lobster Claws usually sell for a low price, so they are a better choice.  Large Maine Lobster claws are loaded with juicy lobster meat that is perfect for making soups and salads.  Lobster claw meat is always more colorful too.
     It pays to test a lobster claw, just like a stone crab claw, before purchasing.  When tapping the claw with a table knife, a "solid thud sound" should be heard.  This means that the claw is full of meat.  When a hollow sound is heard, it means that there is not much meat in the claw.  Hollow claws are called "floaters" and they are not worth the price.
     Dragon Fruit is a cactus fruit that is native to northern Mexico and central Mexico.  Dragon Fruit is refreshing in hot weather.  The flavor of a ripe red Dragon Fruit has a mild strawberry-watermelon flavor.
     Just like Prickly Pear Cactus Fruit, Dragon Fruit contains small edible seeds.  The fruit of a cactus is actually the seed pod that forms under a flower.  Sliced Dragon Fruit looks kind of like a poppyseed cake, because the black seeds are spread evenly throughout the white part of the fruit.  The fruit near the skin has a pretty pink color.  The skin of dragon fruit is easily removed with a sharp paring knife, but care must be taken, so that a minimum of the pink fruit flesh is lost.
 
     Mayonnaise:
     This recipe yields about 1 1/2 cups.
     Making mayonnaise is simple.  The mayonnaise proportion is 1 cup of vegetable oil to 1 large egg yolk.  Dijon Mustard is an emulsifier that makes starting the mayonnaise emulsion easier to do.  
     Only a few drops of oil can be added at a time in the beginning, till a thick emulsion starts to form.  After the thick emulsion starts, the oil can be added in a thin stream while whisking.  The finished mayonnaise should be thick enough to support a spoon vertically. 
     Step 1:  Measure 1 cup of vegetable oil and set it aside.
     Step 2:  Place these ingredients in a mixing bowl:
      - 1/2 tablespoon of white wine vinegar
      - 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
      - 2 pinches of sea salt
      - 1 pinch of white pepper
      - 1 teaspoon of Dijon Mustard  
      - 1 large egg yolk
     Whisk the ingredients till they are combined.
     Step 3:  Add a few drops of the measured oil at a time while whisking, till a thick emulsion starts to form.
     Step 4:  Slowly add a thin stream of the measured oil while constantly whisking.  (Do not add too much oil too fast or the emulsion will break!)
     *After adding about 1/2 of the measured oil, the mayonnaise may be very thick.  Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of warm water while whisking, so the texture of the mayonnaise emulsion is lighter.
     Continue slowly adding the rest of the oil while whisking, till the mayonnaise is combined.  
     *The finished mayonnaise should be thick enough for a spoon to stand vertically when inserted.
     Step 5:  Place the finished mayonnaise in a container and chill to 41ºF.  Fresh mayonnaise can be kept in a refrigerator for 7 days.
     
     Sauce Verte:
     This recipe yields 1 cup.
     Step 1:  Boil a pot of water over high heat..
     Step 2:  Place 2 teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves in a fine mesh strainer.
     Add 1 cup of Italian Parsley sprigs.
     Add 20 fresh tarragon leaves.
     Add 8 whole fresh chive shoots.
     Add 1/2 cup of small fresh chervil sprigs.
     Step 3:  Dip the pasta net with the fresh herbs in the boiling water.
     Blanch the herbs for no longer than 10 to 15 seconds.
     Dip the fine mesh strainer with the blanched herbs in a container full of ice water.  (Shocking the herbs will keep the bright green color intact!)
     Step 4:  Set the chilled blanched herbs on a cutting board.
     Pat the herbs dry with a towel.
     Finely mince the herbs.
     Step 5:  Place the minced herbs in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1 cup of fresh mayonnaise.
     Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.
     Whisk the ingredients together.  (Or use an electric blending wand to combine the ingredients.)
     Step 6:  Place the Sauce Verte in a very fine mesh strainer.  (Mousseline Chinoise)
     Use a spoon or rubber spatula to press the Sauce Verte through the strainer into a container.
     *Be sure the scrape the outside of the strainer, so no sauce is wasted.
     Step 7:  Cover the Sauce Verte container with a lid.
     Refrigerate the sauce for 30 minutes, so the flavors meld.
     Step 8:  Place the Sauce Verte in a plastic squeeze bottle.
     Chill the sauce till it is needed.
 
     Watercress Salad with Dragon Fruit, Lobster and Sauce Verte:
     This recipe yields 1 salad entrée.
     This salad is best when kept simple.  Adding extra vegetables or aromatic flavors would detract from the mellow lobster and dragon fruit flavors.  The Sauce Verte is all this salad needs!
     Step 1:  Cut a peeled Dragon Fruit in half lengthwise.
     Cut 1 half of the fruit into triangle shaped spears.
     Cut the spears into thin triangle shaped slices.
     Chill the dragon fruit till it is needed.
     Step 2:  Select 1 or 2 poached large Maine Lobster Claws.
     Crack and remove the shell.
     Remove the inner cartilage blade from the claw meat.
     Cut the prepared lobster claw meat into bite size pieces.
     *There should be about 2/3 cup of clean shelled lobster claw meat pieces.  Crack another claw open if there is not enough.
     Step 3:  Place 2/3 cup of lobster claw meat pieces in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1/4 cup of the sliced dragon fruit.
     Add 2 1/2 cups of watercress sprigs.
     Toss the ingredients together.
     Step 4:  Mound the watercress and lobster and dragon fruit salad mixture on the center of a plate.
     Overlap a ring of dragon fruit triangle slices on the plate around the mound of salad.
     Use the plastic squeeze bottle to paint the salad with a generous amount of Sauce Verte.  (About 1 1/2 ounces.)

     On a hot summer day, sometimes a simple salad that features only a few tasty ingredients is best!

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