With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, many of you may be mulling over how to celebrate with a special someone. I’m not into the overblown emphasis we put on the day, nor the need to spend uncanny amounts of money and effort on lavish gifts, fancy dinners, and overpriced flowers, which only places unnecessary pressure on couples and uncoupled people alike.
But I do think it’s nice, now and then, to acknowledge the people that mean the most to us in a meaningful way. If Valentine’s Day is simply a reminder to do that, then I’m all for it!
A special meal, made with love, is always my go-to when I want to show someone how much I care. Lobster is perfect for such an occasion. It’s not something most of us eat every day, and I can usually find it for a slightly reduced price around Valentine’s Day.
You’ll never find me turning down a straightforward broiled lobster dripping with melted garlic butter. However, I wanted to come up with something a little more creative for this post—a dish that allows the delicate sweetness of the lobster meat to shine without getting overwhelmed by other ingredients. Indulgent, yet still refreshingly light and uncomplicated. I also wanted to come up with something that would allow me to stretch my dollars while still making the most of this pricier creature.
And thus, this carpaccio-style lobster was born. It honors the traditional ingredients of this timeless meal: bright, citrusy dressing, peppery arugula, briny capers, and aromatic, umami-rich Parmigiano-Reggiano. But I made it my own by swapping out the traditional raw beef tenderloin with chilled, cooked lobster and fingerling potatoes. Inspired by the classic Italian dish, minimally adulterated, and free of heavy sauces, what better way to highlight the sweet, light taste of lobster meat?
This dish is a breeze to prepare. You can make the components in advance, then simply serve chilled with a drizzle of lemon dressing. It’s full of sunny flavors and won’t leave you feeling too full to enjoy the rest of “date night.”
While this is an ideal Valentine’s meal for two, it would play over just as well when the days begin to warm and you begin to hanker for more invigorating, light meals for the family.
Few dishes taste better than those you make with love—especially if they aren’t too complicated or time-consuming. This meal fits the bill. This year, ditch the long wait times, fancy flowers, and boxes of chocolates. Treat yourself (and the other special people lucky enough to be in your life) with this extraordinarily delicious dish, savored in the comfort and quiet of home.
Lobster and Fingerling Potatoes, Carpaccio Style
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 30–45 minutes, plus 2–3 hours chill time
If lobster is unavailable, substitute cooked, chilled shrimp (about 6–8 per person), for an equally satisfying entrée or starter course.
8–12 fingerling potatoes
2 lobster tails (or 12–16 cooked, chilled shrimp)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
¼ cup fruity extra virgin olive oil
Salt and cracked pepper
3 cups baby arugula
1 tablespoon capers (fry until crispy, if desired)
1½ oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano, shaved with a vegetable peeler
- Cook and chill potatoes: Cover washed potatoes in cold, salted water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until just tender when pierced with a knife, about 20–30 minutes. Drain. Set aside on a plate in the fridge until completely chilled, at least 2 hours.
- Cook and chill lobster: Fill a pot with about 2 inches of water. (Make sure the pot is large enough to hold the lobster tails.) Bring to a boil, then salt heavily. Add lobster and cover. Reduce heat and steam-poach until lobster is firm and cooked through, about 10-15 minutes for an average (4 oz.) lobster tail. Drain. Set aside on a plate in the fridge or freezer until chilled, at least 2 hours.
- Plate lobster and potatoes: Place serving plates in the freezer to get them nice and cold. Using scissors for easiest removal, cut the underside of the lobster shell from head towards tail, being careful not to cut into the meat. Open shell and remove lobster meat, in one piece if possible. Cut into about 6 slices and keep chilled. Slice potatoes in half lengthwise, or in thick slices if large. Arrange lobster slices on one side of each serving plate and potato slices on the other.
- Prepare dressing: Mix lemon juice with olive oil. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Toss arugula with ⅔ of the dressing, then pile in center of plate. Drizzle lobster and potatoes with a little remining dressing. Top with capers and shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano. Add one last grind of fresh pepper and serve immediately.