Primo chef Melissa Kelly’s lobster salad is a definite twist on a classic, as she dresses it with curry-flavored vinaigrette. Make the curry oil for the vinaigrette a day ahead so that the flavors can meld.

1/4 cup Madras curry powder

1 cup light olive oil

3 (1 1/4-pound) lobsters

1 pound pencil-thin asparagus

2 1/2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar


1 medium shallot, finely chopped

1/2 red bell pepper, very finely diced

Salt and freshly ground pepper

6 cups mesclun (about 6 ounces)

1/4 cup cilantro leaves

1/4 cup snipped chives


Stir the curry powder with 2 tablespoons water in a medium jar to make a thick paste. Add the oil, cover tightly and shake to mix thoroughly. Let stand overnight. The next day, pour the curry oil into a clean jar, leaving all of the sediment behind.

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the lobsters until bright red all over, about 12 minutes. Plunge the lobsters into ice water, then drain. Twist off the claws, crack them and remove the meat. With kitchen scissors, slit the tail shells lengthwise and remove the meat. Discard the vein that runs the length of each tail. Slice the tails crosswise 1/4-inch thick.

Bring a medium skillet of salted water to a boil. Add the asparagus and cook until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Plunge the asparagus into ice water, then drain and pat dry.

Pour the Champagne vinegar over the shallot in a small bowl, and let stand for 10 minutes. Whisk in 5 tablespoons of the curry oil until blended. Add the red bell pepper and season the curry vinaigrette with salt and pepper.

Toss the greens, cilantro and chives with half of the vinaigrette in a large bowl. Arrange the greens on a platter and surround with the asparagus. Top with the lobster, drizzle on the remaining vinaigrette and serve.

Make Ahead

The curry oil can be refrigerated for 1 month. The lobster meat can be refrigerated for 1 day.

Originally published in May 2001 Food & Wine

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