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Sep 29, 2015
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WINE WITH…End-of-Summer Lobster and Corn Salad

Summer is officially over but there is still a fair amount of good corn at the farmers’ market, and the tomatoes still taste awesome. In an effort to maximize as much of this summery goodness as possible, we decided to make a big main course salad for dinner. To add protein and an extra dose of fun, we topped our salad with lobster tails, which had the further advantage of making this a very wine friendly dish.

You can use our recipe as a springboard from which to dive into your own creative additions of summer veggies (green beans, diced zucchini, cubes of fried eggplant--any or all of these would be delicious embellishments). Or you might consider substituting fried oysters for the lobster tails, and pork belly for the bacon. Though we used arugula in our salad, mâche would be a wonderful substitute, or you could try chopped romaine, red leaf lettuce or chicory. The important thing is to remember that the greens are there to add a footnote of color and a little crunch, not to dominate. Between a half-cup and a cup of greens per person is plenty.

Lobster and Corn Salad

Serves 2

The lobster, bacon and corn may all be cooked a few hours ahead.

2 lobster tails
2 slices bacon, preferably thick-cut
2 ears corn
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
salt and pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
About 1 cup baby arugula leaves
1 large or two medium tomatoes, cut in large dice
minced fresh chives for garnish

You can pre-cook the lobster tails up to a couple of hours before serving. See directions below.

Cook the bacon until it is cooked medium-crisp but not hard and crumbly. When it has cooled, tear or cut it into small, bite size pieces. Set aside.

To cook the corn, cut the kernels from the cobs. Blanch the kernels in boiling water for a minute or two, then strain and transfer them to a small bowl. Blot them dry with a paper towel. Whisk together 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and the lime juice, and season with salt and pepper. Stir half this mixture into the corn, reserving the other half. Set the corn aside until ready to use.

To assemble the salad, stir the cayenne into the remaining tablespoon of oil, season with a little salt and pepper, and coat the lobster pieces with the mixture. Melt the butter in a skillet and, when it is hot and foamy, add the lobster pieces. Sauté them, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat. Divide the arugula between two dinner plates and scatter the diced tomatoes and the corn over it. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil/ lime juice mixture, top with the lobster and bacon, and sprinkle the chives over everything.

To Pre-Cook the Lobster Tails:

If they are frozen, defrost the lobster tails in the refrigerator or in a plastic bag placed in a bowl of cool water. When thawed, rinse them in cold water, then cut down the middle of the hard back shells with a pair of scissors or kitchen shears, stopping just before the tail fan. Place the lobster tails and their shells in a sauce pan and cover with water, then bring to a boil and simmer for 4 minutes. Drain the tails, and when they are cool enough to handle, use your fingers to peel back the cut edges of the shell, working the flesh loose in one piece if possible. Discard the shells and cut the lobster meat in bite-size pieces. Refrigerate until ready to use.

* * *

We sampled ten white wines, a bottle of bubbly, and a rosé with this dish, and reached two conclusions. First, a very dry wine will work well, as it will provide a clear contrast to the sweetness of both the corn and the lobster. But second, a significantly sweeter wine will do equally well, as it will echo the flavors in the salad. Which is better? We can’t decide, but do want to note that extremely delicate wines, no matter whether dry or sweet, will not have enough stuffing to provide a satisfying pairing.

Questions or comments? Contact us at Talkofthevine@gmail.com

Selection

Approx. Price

Comments

Berta Bouzy, Mont-Ferrant (Spain) Cava Extra Brut 2008

(Imported by Martine Wine Trading)

$28

Perhaps the bests cava we have ever tasted, this is a riveting, bone dry fizz, with enough depth of flavor to hold its own in this pairing. It’s pricier than most cavas, but well worth the splurge.

Domaine Michel Briday, Bouzeron (France) “Cuvée Axelle” 2014

(Imported by Vineyard Brands)

$25

Made with Aligoté grapes, the only ones allowed in Burgundy’s Bouzeron appellation, this is a very dry white, with crisp autumn fruit flavors and impressive length on the palate. It very much fit the wine as contrast paradigm.

Cape Point Vineyards, Cape Point (South Africa) Sauvignon Blanc 2013 (Imported by Brodbent Selections)

$22

Another dry white, with more heft than many South African Sauvignons, this wine tastes of citrus enhanced by a streak of minerality that gains force in the finish. It was in no sense overwhelmed by the dish.

Davis Bynum, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County (California) Chardonnay “River West Vineyard” 2012

$30

The sweetness in this wine comes from both ripe grapes and oak aging, and it has a well-defined streak of vanilla that enhances its more tropical-flavored fruit. Fleshy and full on the palate, it seemed to love the lobster in this salad.

Weingut Robert Weil, Rheingau (Germany) Riesling Spätlese “Tradition” 2013

(Imported by Loosen Bros. USA)

$14

While this Spätlese is plenty sweet, it at the same time has plenty of zesty acidity for balance, and so works well with food. It shined especially brightly with this dish as it complemented the sweet corn and rich lobster meat.