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  • By Alex Hitz for Quest Magazine

Lobster Salad Rémoulade, and other stories

Experts and pundits opine that the Lobster Salad from Hampton’s commissary Loaves and Fishes is an economic bell-weather. North of $100 per pound says stock markets are bullish, south is bear-time. The message is clear either way: Lobster Salad means luxury.

Although lobster is no longer the delicacy it once was---I’m talking Diamond Jim Brady days at Delmonico’s when crustaceans were as exotic as Antelope meatloaf might be today---it’s still really special. This one is so much more to me because of sensational sauce remoulade: a French herb-mayonnaise with capers and a touch of anchovy. Auguste Escoffier, the guru-of-all-things-French-cuisine served remoulade when he and Cesar Ritz created the standard we know today as luxury dining at Ritz’s hotels in Paris and other grand tour stops, but it was late 19th Century Louisiana that made remoulade a household word. In the culinary crucible that New Orleans is, and always was, cold seafood is rarely served without it. Take that sauce tartare!

See? It’s just perfect for that hot August day with chilled Mumm Champagne, crisp Bibb greens and crusty bread, or summer corn on the cob. Here’s another secret “family” recipe: just slip it onto these sensational Derby plates, discontinued ca. 1805, combine a bit of smashing silver like this Beaux Arts champagne cooler and my grandmother’s beaded service plates from Tiffany’s, natch…then, add a few heirloom Madeira linens and those forever-discontinued Baccarat “tulip” wine glasses---wedding presents to my mother and father that somehow stayed intact when the marriage did not---and presto! You’ll have one helluva sure-fire over-the-top lunch! A Plus: You will NOT, I repeat WILL NOT have spent anything close to $100 per pound, although it’ll certainly look you did.

Lobster Salad

Yield: six to eight servings

2 pounds lobster meat, peeled, chopped into chunks

2 tablespoons salted butter

1 medium onion, diced

3 stalks celery, chopped

2 slices very crisp bacon, chopped

¾ cup Remoulade Sauce

1 large tomato diced

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon lemon juice

3/4 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

In a large skillet over a medium heat, melt the butter. When the foaming subsides, add the lobster and sauté for only a couple of minutes, until butter fully covers it. Remove from the heat, set it aside, and let it cool.

In a large bowl, combine the lobster with the onion, celery, bacon, Remoulade Sauce, tomato, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, salt, and pepper, and cover it. Refrigerate the lobster salad overnight before serving. Serve it cold on a bed of lettuce, with avocados, tomatoes, or corn on the cob.

Remoulade Sauce

Yield: A little more than 1 cup

¾ cup mayonnaise, perfect homemade (see recipe) or store-bought

¼ cup crème fraiche

1 clove minced garlic

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

¾ teaspoon dry mustard

1 tablespoon finely minced Italian parsley

1 teaspoon dried tarragon

1 teaspoon anchovy paste

1 ½ teaspoons chopped capers

In a small mixing bowl combine all the ingredients and stir, cover the bowl and refrigerate it for at least 2 hours, or preferably overnight, and serve.

Perfect Homemade Mayonnaise

I have written endlessly about the magic of making your own---you’re the captain of your own destiny on this. I can’t persuade you any more!

Yield: 1 cup

3 egg yolks

4 tablespoons lemon juice

1 ¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard

¼ teaspoon dry mustard

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

¾ cup tasteless vegetable oil (see note page TK)

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine the egg yolks, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, dry mustard, salt, and black pepper.

Process these ingredients for approximately two minutes, until the yolks are thick and sticky.

Continue to process the yolks, and add the oil slowly, in a steady stream, through the opening in the top of the processor, while processor is running, making sure that all the oil is incorporated. When all the oil has been added, the mayonnaise should be thick, luxurious, and fully emulsified.

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