Sophisticated Russian salad with lobster

Get your claws out.

A relatively simple Russian salad is raised to new levels of sophistication when finished off with succulent pieces of fresh lobster meat.

Russian salad (serves 2)

2 eggs
2 x 400g cooked lobsters
1 small carrot, peeled and diced
1 stick celery, peeled and diced
A handful of fine French beans, topped and tailed, then cut into very small lengths
2 heaped tbspn frozen peas
1 medium tomato, peeled, de-seeded and diced
4–5 radishes, trimmed and diced
A short length of cucumber, peeled, de-seeded and diced
2 spring onions, trimmed and very finely sliced
3–4tbspn good-quality mayonnaise, preferably homemade (not Hellmann’s, please)

Cover the eggs with cold water in a small pan, bring to a boil, switch off the heat and leave in the water for 5 minutes. Refresh under a cold running tap for 3–4 minutes, then drain and shell. Put to one side.

Crack the lobster claws with the back of a heavy knife and remove the meat. Detach the tail whole from the head of the lobster, squeeze it in your hands so that the shell breaks, then carefully peel off the shell, so leaving the tail whole. Set the flesh to one side. (You may freeze the lobster shells for making a soup/bisque for another time.)

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Simmer the carrots and celery in salted water until almost done, then add the beans and peas and cook until all four vegetables are tender. Drain in a sieve, briefly rinse under a cold tap and put into a bowl lined with two layers of kitchen paper. Leave to drain, remove the paper and add the tomato, radish, cucumber and spring onions, then mix all together with the mayonnaise. Slice the eggs and lobster-tail meat.

To finish, form a thick line of the vegetable mayonnaise, arrange the lobster tail and eggs alternately on top, then tuck in a claw at each end. Serve forthwith.