Greek Salad and Lobster

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When it comes to cooking Florida lobster (Panulirus argus, Caribbean spiny lobster) there are two simple rules. The first: Don’t over-season. The second: Don’t overcook. A dusting of salt and pepper on split lobster tails followed by a quick trip to a hot grill or broiler is sufficient. Florida’s spiny lobsters

have a unique flavor, generally a bit stronger than the large-clawed northern lobster (Homarus americanus, American lobster), and one that doesn’t need to be enhanced with gooey sauces. Simply dipping a chunk of tender Florida lobster into melted butter makes for a happy mouthful!

With your lobster cooked and ready to eat, the next decision regards a simple side dish. And while slaw and French fries may come to mind, how about something lighter-and cooler-for a late summer lunch or dinner? A tasty Greek salad is a good substitute for the cabbage and making it with potato salad adds a bit of starch to your plate.

Greek salad is lettuce-based, dressed with good olive oil (buy extra- virgin from the Mediterranean), red wine vinegar, and the chef’s choice of toppings. The potato salad component is “native” to Tarpon Springs, where it was introduced over a hundred years ago by the Pappas family.

To me, Greek salad isn’t Greek salad without the potatoes! FS

Greek Salad

Lettuce (iceberg or romaine), cut into wedges Ripe tomato, cut into wedges

Cucumber, sliced or cut into sticks

Salonika or pepperoncini peppers

Sliced pickled beets

Kalamata olives

Feta cheese (from Greece!), crumbled

or chunks

Dried oregano

Olive oil and red wine vinegar

Greek Potato Salad

(4 to 6 servings)

6 to 8 Yukon Gold potatoes

1 medium red onion

Olive oil and red wine vinegar

1-2 tbsp. mayonnaise

Peel and rinse the potatoes. Then, using a very sharp knife or a mandolin slicer, cut the potatoes into 1/8-inch slices. Separately, peel and cut the onion into similar slices. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Gently add the potato slices to the water and cook until they’re just barely done. It’s important to retain the shape and some crispness of the potatoes. You don’t want to make “mashed” potatoes! Remove potatoes from the water, drain and rinse with cold water. Dry the potatoes with paper towels. Very carefully, with a rubber spatula, toss the potatoes and onions with the oil, vinegar and mayonnaise. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

Dress the lettuce with olive oil. Then add the vinegar, to taste. Toss and plate alongside or over a serving of potato salad. Top with olives, cheese, peppers, tomatoes, cucumber and beets. Sprinkle with oregano before serving.

First published Florida Sportsman August 2016

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