Baby Greens with Lobster, Avocado, Pink Grapefruit and Brown Sugar Bacon

If you find this dish tempting but the length of the recipe daunting, don’t despair. Although there are several components, each is simple to make and can be made in advance. Assembly of the components is also quick and easy, and the end result is a sophisticated and amazingly delicious salad with a beautiful presentation. A perfect and memorable beginning for a special dinner.

  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1 pinch granulated sugar, or to taste
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon thinly sliced fresh chives
  • 1/4 medium ruby red grapefruit
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups mixed baby greens, crisped*
  • 1 cup cooked lobster meat (1/2-inch dice)**
  • 4 slices Brown Sugar Bacon (click for recipe), cut or broken into 1/2-inch pieces
Special Equipment:
  • 3 1/2-inch round cutter
For the Dressing: In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the vinegar, salt and sugar. Add the oil in a thin stream, whisking constantly and vigorously, until the vinaigrette is creamy and emulsified. Add the chives, and adjust the seasoning with additional salt and/or sugar as needed.

For the Salad: Working over a medium mixing bowl to catch any juices, peel and segment the grapefruit taking care to remove any seeds and membranes. Place the segments into the bowl with the juices.

Place the avocado on a cutting board. Using a chef knife, cut through the center of the avocado lengthwise until the knife comes in contact with the pit. Without removing the knife, make a continuous slice around the pit until the knife meets the initial incision point. Remove the knife from the avocado, then twist the halves in opposite directions to separate them. Remove and discard the pit, then place the avocado cut-side down on the work surface; peel back the skin using your fingertips or a small sharp knife.

Cut one half of the avocado into cubes and place in the bowl with the grapefruit segments and their juice; toss gently to coat the avocado with the juice (to prevent browning).

Cut the other half into chunks, and place in the bowl of a mini-food processor. With the machine running, add the vinaigrette, one tablespoon at a time, until a thick, smooth puree is formed. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. If not using immediately, press a piece of plastic wrap onto the surface of the purée and refrigerate until needed.

Add the baby greens, lobster and bacon to the bowl with the grapefruit and avocado. Toss with just enough vinaigrette to coat. Taste and season as needed with salt and pepper.

Spoon one fourth of the avocado puree onto each chilled salad plate. Use the back of a spoon or a pastry brush to spread the puree across the plate in a broad stripe.

Place a round cutter in the center of the plate. Fill the round cutter with the salad mixture, pressing gently to pack. Remove the round cutter, leaving the salad in a cylindrical shape in the center of the plate. Drizzle a little of the remaining vinaigrette around the edge of each plate; serve immediately.

Tips and Techniques
* Mixed baby greens are available in the gourmet produce section of most grocery stores and typically consist of a mixture of baby lettuces. They may include the following: red and green romaine, red leaf, tango (lolla rosa), red and green chard, mizuna, arugula, mache and frisée. If a bolder flavor is desired, substitute all frisée for the mixed greens. To Crisp Salad Greens: All leafy greens should be soaked briefly in a large basin of water. Lift the greens out of the water, shake off the excess water and dry in a salad spinner (do this in batches, if necessary). To crisp, wrap in linen or paper towels (to absorb remaining moisture), place in a plastic bag and store in the vegetable bin of your refrigerator. If the greens are to be torn or cut into smaller pieces, it is best done just before the salad is dressed and served. Greens will stay crisp this way for up to two days.

** You may be able to purchase cooked lobster meat from your seafood purveyor. Some seafood markets will steam fresh lobster or lobster tails for you. Two 6 to 7-ounce lobster tails will yield approximately 8 ounces cooked lobster meat. To cook the lobster tails, preheat the oven to 450°F. Use a large heavy knife to split each lobster tail in half lengthwise. Place the split tails on a small roasting pan or baking sheet and brush each with about 2 teaspoons melted butter. Roast in the oven until just cooked through, about 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature. Once cool, remove from the shell and dice the meat.

Serves 4

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