Just because winter is emerging and the holidays are right around the corner, one does not have to deviate from fresh produce, healthy options or throw their hard-earned bikini-body into cahoots.
For example. Lobster. Root vegetables. Fresh fruits. Spinach and artichoke dip. Ready to create some delicious magic?
Commence light and fresh...
1 medium fennel bulb
1 medium grapefruit - segment and cut into supremes, then squeeze and reserve the juices
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Basil leaves - chop fine (chiffonade cut)
1/4 avocado - slice into thin slivers
Drizzle of olive oil (solid quality)
Coarse sea salt and fresh pepper
Using a mandolin, carefully slice fennel bulb into thin slices. Combine with supremes of grapefruit, avocado, lemon and grapefruit juices, drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of coarse sea salt and pepper.
When plating, remember to build volume... essentially, carefully stack the mixture in order to build a tower of flavors. Top with chiffonade of basil.
That was easy.
Lobster tail. Pair with flavors that will enhance the tail... not overwhelm or compete with the sweet seafood. Let's study two lobster dishes: one sweet, one savory.
Sweet: warmed artichoke/spinach dip with lobster tail, whole-grain mustard kiwi reduction, frisée and sliced picked kiwi (yes, kiwi).
Warmed Artichoke/Spinach Dip:
Usually I am not an advocate of canned vegetables; however, canned artichoke hearts can be used to create a brilliant dip.
1 cup artichoke hearts - chop fine
2 cups fresh spinach
1 shallot - fine dice
1 garlic clove - smash and mince
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tsp rosemary
2 tsp smoked paprika
Pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese - grated
6 oz whipped cream cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Sweat the diced shallot and garlic in almond oil until no longer crunchy (about 5 minutes). Add the lemon juice, rosemary, paprika and cayenne pepper. Add the chopped artichoke hearts and spinach... allow to cook until tender and wilted (about 7 minutes). Remove from the heat.
In a separate bowl, add the whipped cream cheese and whisk. Add the cooked artichoke/spinach mixture, as well as grated Parmesan cheese. Mix with spatula. Season with salt and pepper.
Bring 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 water to a boil, then remove from the heat. Add 1 tsp cider vinegar, 5 black peppercorns and 3 kiwis (peeled and sliced thin). Allow to marinate for at least one hour.
Whole-grain mustard/kiwi reduction:
In a Vitamix, add 1 cup of pickled kiwis and 1 Tbsp whole grain mustard. Pour into a sauce pan, then add 1 cup of boiling cream. Allow to reduce and thicken to a creamy consistency. Season with salt and pepper.
Plating - Spoon the warmed artichoke/spinach dip in the middle of the plate, then top with a poached lobster tail (I poach mine in butter). Top with frisée, then drizzle with reduced whole-grain mustard kiwi reduction. Add a few of the pickled kiwi slices around the edge of the plate.
A more savory lobster dish? Try pairing lobster claw with roasted artichoke hearts, portabella mushroom and sunchokes. Smokey paprika will bring an essential "earthiness" to the dish. When plating, place the ingredients into an "organized chaotic" pattern... building volume by stacking, yet respecting the cooked nourishment.
Lastly... an extra side... roasted root vegetables with edamame, tomato foam and Greek yogurt... simple, yet elegant.
"Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify" - Henry David Thoreau