Lobster salad with green beans, apple, and avocado

We made recipe #2 of our global cookbook cook-through on Friday night from Patricia Wells’ Salad as a Meal. The book, subtitled “Healthy Main-Dish Salads for Every Season,” is packed with recipes, and suggested wine pairings, that I look forward to going back to, but for fall in coastal Maine it was easy to settle on Lobster Salad with Green Beans, Apple, and Avocado.

Since Kate and I are doing Weight Watchers (we have both lost over 30 pounds since August, by the way. Go us!), we have been watching our oil consumption, so the fact this this salad’s dressing is made of Greek yogurt, Dijon mustard, minced chives, and a bit of sea salt was both a bonus and an eye-opener. The combination of the tangy yogurt, hot mustard, and what seemed like an insane amount of minced chives (1/4 cup to a cup of yogurt and tablespoon of mustard) made a wonderfully light and creamy dressing perfectly perfumed with chives that ticked the salt, fat, and acid boxes. As a rule, we avoid non-fat dairy substitutes and just try to use judicious amounts of the real things. Our one exception is non-fat Greek yogurt, which we have found to be nearly indistinguishable from low or full-fat yogurt for cooking or eating with fruit and granola for breakfast. Chobani non-fat Greek yogurt, which we used for this recipe, is particularly good.

This dressing is tossed with blanched green beans, cubes of apple and avocado, and bite-sized pieces of lobster meat. The contrasting colors and textures in the salad were spectacular: crisp-tender green beans, crunchy apple, unctuous melt-in-your-mouth avocado, and sproingy lobster. And it paired beautifully with a bottle of ever-reliable La Vieille Ferme Rosé. This is definitely a salad that we’ll make again and again. We’re also going to experiment with substituting shrimp for the lobster to make this as a potluck dish that should be equally delicious but a bit more economical.

Although lobster is much more reasonably priced and fresher here in Maine, the pound of lobster meat called for by the recipe for four servings is still rather extravagant. We’ve found that a 1 ¼ to 1 ½ pound lobster contains four to five ounces of tail, claw, and knuckle meat which is useable for a salad or lobster roll. We halved the recipe and used the meat from two lobsters to make two very satisfying servings. Already picked lobster meat is available, but it is much more economical to buy whole lobsters and shell them oneself. And of course the bonus to picking one’s own lobsters is that you have the shells and heads to make stock with.

Up next: Paul Bertolli & Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse Cooking, the first, or rather last, of nine Alice Waters/Chez Panisse books on our shelf.

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