Mmmmmm lobster. *drools* If you’ve read my Seafood Bisque post, you might already know how much I love the crustacean (and seafood in general.) I thought I’d share a recipe that is near and dear to my heart, Cantonese Lobster Salad! Now, it’s really not quite…a true “salad” per se…as it’s really not healthy for you whatsoever given the ingredients. Well except for the fruit. That makes me feel a little less guilty after eating a bowl of it. Or two.
Now that I think of it, a fruit salad with a mayo dressing might seem off putting to some, but I guess since I grew up with those flavors, they just make me happy! So to those of you grimacing at the idea of lobster with fruit and mayo…you can..either try it and love it, or….don’t try it… and go somewhere else with that negativity!
Anyhow, did you know? Lobster used to be served as prison food in the early colonies and it wasn’t until the early 1900s that it became popular. I’m so glad that humanity found a way to cook it and turn it into something delicious! I guess if there’s a will, there’s a way. To learn more about the history and how lobster turned into a delicacy, read this article by Matt Hershberger at Eat Sip Trip.
While I don’t remember exactly when or how I first experienced eating lobster, I do remember it always being a special treat associated with my parents. My father would sometimes buy lobster and crab at the local market and steam it for us at home to eat. We’d dip it in butter as per the ol’ American way, or my mom would make this delicious, garlic and vinegar soy sauce to dip lobster (or crab) in. Other times, the parents would bring back takeout from the city after work, typically a Cantonese style stir fried lobster with ginger and scallion, and we’d snack on the tasty morsels together at night. Sharing food and buying us our favorite foods was often our parents’ way of showing love. My dad would often say, “We were going to eat ____ but we thought, Jenny would love this!” and would pack it for me instead of eating it for themselves. Ah parental love.
If I have kids, would I be able to do the same??? I’m not so sure… I’d probably be like “Oh! My son/daughter would love this!” and then proceed to keep eating it. Gotta try to make sure it’s good first, right? Or…maybe what they don’t know doesn’t hurt them….(Oh boohoo, we can always order another or bring the hypothetical offspring to eat another time, GOSH.)
Some of my favorite lobster memories though, were when we went to dinner to Cantonese restaurants in Chinatown and we got lobster salad. The lobster salad would come out on a large platter, on top of a bed of lettuce or sliced orange garnish. The red lobster head, claws and tail would be on the side of the dish, to tell you that it was a lobster dish, and not something….else. Like cat. Or some other weird stuff. (Although I’m sure to some folks, that would probably be delicious. To each their own!)
Cantonese style lobster salad is a mayo based salad with assorted fruit and lobster. It’s a simple dish but incredibly nostalgic, yummy and refreshing as it’s served cold. We typically enjoyed it as one of the starter dishes to a Chinese banquet–usually a special occasion like a wedding or family reunion of some sort, so always a happy memory for me. Sometimes we add potato or boiled egg to add more substance to the “salad”, but it’s just fine without as well, and is more “light.” Some people like to use a mixture of sour cream and mayo, but since we’re “trying” to be healthy, I’ve subbed greek yogurt instead. It really tastes very similar, and if anything, it makes everything so much more creamy and yummy.
- 2 cups lobster meat (freshly steamed and shells removed)
- 1 cup cantaloupe chunks
- 1 cup seedless green grapes
- 1 cup canned longan fruit (fresh is great if you have it available)
- 1 cup Korean pear chunks
- 1/2 cup light mayo
- 1/2 cup kewpie mayo
- 1/2 cup greek yogurt
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
- 1 tablespoon honey
- salt to taste
1. MIX ALL THE THINGS! DONE.
2. EAT ALL THE THINGS!
No really. Just put all of it in to a bowl, mix and season to taste. It’s that easy. Make sure the chunks are bite sized so it’s easy to get a fork full of different fruits and lobster meat, and enjoy~