Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Fresh Lobster or Shrimp Gazpacho

Summer is the perfect time for elegant, simple meals. There is nothing quite as succulent as a fresh tomato warmed by the sun. Find the farmers’ markets and farm stands in your neighborhood and purchase the flavorful, ripe wonders that grow close to home. These local fruits and vegetables will add immeasurably to your menu.

This recipe for an elegant gazpacho is enhanced with the delicate taste of lobster. It’s joined by a new summer classic that bursts with flavor: Duck Salad with Blueberries and Walnut Vinaigrette. This salad is a quintessential summer dish, incorporating both fruits and vegetables fresh from the field. Feel free to substitute your favorite herbs and vegetables to make each dish your own.

Fresh Garden Gazpacho with Lobster Medallions
This is one of the easiest versions available of this refreshing summer classic. The addition of vinegar gives it a delicious, subtle tang.

2 cups tomato juice or vegetable juice cocktail- you can choose the spicy version for a zippier soup
2 cups fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
1 cup diced canned tomatoes, with their liquid
1 cup celery, finely chopped
1 cup seeded and finely chopped cucumber
1 cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 cup sweet onion or scallions, finely chopped
1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely minced
3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or 1 t dried
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
Sprigs of fresh parsley
24 baby spinach leaves
4 cooked lobster tails or 1 lb cooked Maine shrimp

Place all of the ingredients except the parsley sprigs, baby spinach, and lobster in a large stainless steel or glass bowl. Cover and chill six hours or overnight. One at a time, place each lobster tail on your cutting board. Using a sharp knife, slice along the top of each lobster tail, cutting approximately 1/4 inch into the meat. De vein. Slice each lobster tail into 3/4-inch thick pieces to create large coin-shaped medallions.

When you are ready to serve, fill each bowl with soup. Lay three baby spinach leaves in the center of each bowl. Carefully place a few lobster medallions on top of the spinach “lily pads.” Garnish with a sprig of parsley and serve.

Serves 8.
Savor. Linger. Enjoy! -Cynthia

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Pasta Salad with Fresh Corn, Black Beans, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

The flavors of lime and cumin in this refreshing pasta salad give it a Mexican flair. Fresh corn cut right off the cob adds a touch of summer to your salad. Make an extra batch of dressing and use it to marinate or drizzle on cooked grilled chicken or shrimp for a delicious hearty meal.
Serves 8-10

1 lb fresh whole grain pasta
2 T olive oil
3 ears of fresh sweet corn, shucked and steamed
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
6 scallions, sliced thinly
16 oz cooked black beans
10 sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil
8 oz black olives
8 oz marinated artichoke hearts
12 sprigs of cilantro
1 large avocado
1 T fresh lime juice
1/2 c. black bean and corn salsa (I love Stonewall Kitchen's version)

1 bunch fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1⁄2 c vinegar
1 c oil
1 t salt
1 t pepper
3 limes, zested and juiced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 T cumin
1⁄2 t cayenne
1 T Cholula pepper sauce or Tabasco sauce--optional

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. Drain, and drizzle with 2 T olive oil. Toss to coat, and chill for 30 minutes.
Shuck the corn, and steam or boil until tender (about 6 minutes). Hold the corn vertically on a cutting board and slice off the kernels close to the cob; be careful not to cut into the cob. After the kernels are removed, hold the knife blade perpendicular to the cob and scrape off any little bits of corn left clinging to the cob.
Wash, remove the seeds and coarsely chop the pepper. Wash, trim and thinly slice the scallions. Drain the beans, sun-dried tomatoes, black olives, and artichoke hearts. Slice the sun-dried tomatoes and artichoke hearts coarsely. Add all the drained ingredients and the salsa to the pasta.
In a large bowl, combine the pasta, corn, pepper, scallions, beans, sun-dried tomatoes, black olives, and artichoke hearts. Toss well and chill while you assemble the dressing.
In a small bowl, whisk together all the dressing ingredients. Pour over the salad and toss well.
Peel, pit, and slice the avocado. Pour 1 T lime juice over the avocado and toss gently to coat. Serve your salad garnished with sprigs of cilantro and a slice or two of avocado.