Recipe developer and food stylist Annie Rigg is a master of the most beautiful foods on Earth, so naturally her next cookbook is packed with colorful, radiant fruits. Incorporate these sweet elements into your favorite preparations and watch the Instagrams take themselves.
In Thailand, a variation of this salad minus the seafood is often served alongside curries, but in this instance I’ve added lobster and crab to make it substantial enough to be served as the hero. If lobster is hard to find or blows your budget, try using freshly cooked shrimp or grilled squid instead.
Pomelos are native to Southeast Asia and can be found in most good Thai or specialty Asian grocers, where you can also pick up most of the other ingredients needed to make this salad. Pomelos have a thick, smooth yellowish-green skin and are nearest in looks to a grapefruit, although they can be at least twice the size and often weigh in at over 2 1/4 pounds, but a large proportion of this is skin and pith.
For the dressing
- 2 to 3 bird's eye chilies, seeded and finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 3 fresh lime leaves, finely shredded
- 1 large or 2 small lemongrass stalks, inner stalks trimmed and finely sliced
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 3 tablespoons palm or granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
For the salad
- 2 pomelos
- 1 large cooked lobster
- 7 ounces freshly cooked white crabmeat
- A handful of cilantro leaves
- A handful of Thai basil
- Flesh of 1/4 fresh coconut, shaved into strips using a vegetable peeler
- 3 red shallots, finely sliced
For the salad
Start by making the dressing. Pound the chilies, garlic, lime leaves, and lemongrass together using a mortar and pestle. Add the remaining dressing ingredients and mix until the sugar has dissolved.
Cut a slice off the top and bottom of the pomelos. Stand the pomelos upright on the cutting board and, using a serrated knife and a sawing motion, slice the skin in strips from top to bottom, removing all the pith as you do so. Neatly cut or tear the pomelo into segments by slicing in between the membranes. Gently toss the segments in three quarters of the dressing and set aside to soak up the flavors while you deal with the shellfish.
Remove the lobster claws and crack the shells with a rolling pin or meat mallet. Carefully remove all the claw meat. Twist the head from the lobster body and reserve for making stock along with all the shell. Using kitchen scissors, cut through the shell on the underside of the lobster body from one end to the other. Carefully pry the shell apart and remove the lobster tail in one piece. Slice the tail meat into thick slices. Pick through the crabmeat and remove any traces of shell.
Arrange the pomelo on plates and top with the lobster and crabmeat. Scatter with the cilantro and basil, and spoon over the remaining dressing. Finish with a flourish of shaved coconut and sliced shallots and serve immediately.