Maine Lobster Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette

Dean James Max

DJM Culinary Inc.

Dean James Max is known for his modern American seafood combinations and showcased his shellfish skills at a Beard House dinner. Sweet and delicious Maine lobster is the focus of this salad; be sure to choose energetic lobsters with long antennae.


  • Salad:

  • Three 1 1/4 pound whole Maine lobsters (or 1 pound of cooked lobster meat)
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 (14 ounce) can hearts of palm, liquid drained and thinly sliced on the bias
  • 1/2 pound fresh string beans, cleaned
  • 1 5-ounce package of mixed baby lettuces
  • 20 fresh pearl onions, peeled
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lime
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Vinaigrette:

  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 small shallot, chopped
  • 1 clove chopped garlic
  • 1 large tomato, peeled and chopped*
  • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
  • 1 sprig fresh oregano, leaves removed and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch cayenne pepper


Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Toss the pearl onions in a mixing bowl with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper, then place on a roasting pan. Bake the onions until tender and beginning to caramelize, 12 to 16 minutes. Set aside.

To make the vinaigrette, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook the shallots, stirring frequently, until they turn opaque, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for one minute more. Transfer the mixture to a blender and let it cool for one minute. Add the oregano, salt, mustard, sugar, black pepper, and cayenne. Carefully blend the ingredients while slowly and consistently drizzling the oil into the mixture. Season to taste with salt and refrigerate. Makes approximately 1 3/4 cups.

To cook the beans, fill a 4-quart mixing bowl with ice and water and set aside. Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil with a pinch of salt. Cook the green beans in the rapidly boiling water for 4 to 6 minutes, testing for doneness. Immediately upon removing the beans from the boiling water, submerge them in the ice water to stop the cooking process. The beans with stay slightly crispy and remain a brilliant shade of green. Once cool, drain the beans and set aside.

To cook the lobsters, plunge them head first into a 12-quart pot of salted boiling water. Cover and cook lobsters on medium-high heat for 9 minutes. Once cooked, use tongs and transfer the lobsters to a large bowl to cool. Once cool, remove meat from claws, tails and joints. Cut the meat into bite-sized pieces and keep covered and chilled until ready to use. Discard the shells.

To finish the salad, toss together the hearts of palm, string beans, lettuce, pearl onions, the juice from half the lime, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Arrange the salad on the center of each plate and arrange the lobster pieces on top. Dress the lobster with a touch more lime juice and olive oil. Drizzle the tomato vinaigrette around each plate.


6 servings