Lobster Mango Avocado Tower – Cheapskate’s Dream Date

Lobster Mango Avocado Tower
I have realized that as much as I wax long and poetic, and wax some more, about food and eating and dining out and other deliciously luxurious things in life, I am a cheapskate’s dream date.

My wardrobe isn’t bursting at the seams with over-priced designer clothing; I don’t adorn myself with expensive jewelry; I am perfectly happy driving my ridiculously reliable car until it finally runs itself into a 20 year old heap of metal. In fact, these days, I do as much walking as I can, saving my waistline, saving emissions, and well, saving money. Aside from one purse that probably costs more than my entire wardrobe, jewelry box, and car combined, which was a gift that I couldn’t refuse (I tried, but my grandmother insisted), I have just a few functional handbags. I don’t buy or need expensive things for myself and I certainly wouldn’t expect someone else to either.

(Note however, that I didn’t mention weekly deep-tissue massages, but hey, a massage is not a material good).

This is not unusual, as my Father is the exact same way, and prefers to nurture my Mother’s “excellence” in those areas. In case it hasn’t yet been made clear, I am my father’s daughter, and my twin sisters are clones of my mother.

Friends and family know all of this – my very simple lifestyle – about me. However, when it comes to food, they expect me to have wildly extravagant tastes. I don’t. For the most part, my tastes are rather plebe. I love my mother’s home-cooked Korean food. I love a well-executed tamale or chile relleno. I love a hearty, colorful salad that relies less on a frou frou dressing and more on the natural flavors of dirt-grown, sun-ripened vegetables. I love foods that are not too fussy, fresh, flavorful, and always reflective of the love and history behind it.

Of course, simple taste shouldn’t be mistaken for simple, plain flavor. Oh, no, no. The foods I prefer will reach for extremes of sweet and sour and salty and spicy. I also love the inherent complexity of velvety Indian curries based on a mis en place of herbs and spices and ingredients that could take up an entire tabletop, braises and stews with the meat’s deep, rich flavors coaxed out by long, slow cooking, and ethnic foods that are exotic to me because they are new, not because they have been flown in from across the world, costing a small fortune. I am in absolute heaven when I sit down and stick my face in the steam rising off a bowl of long-simmered broth, stained a deep dark red from chilis. If I am glistening like an opal with perspiration and weeping from the heat, I have reached gustatory nirvana for, oh, I don’t know, something like all the change between the cushions on my sofa.

However, I can still appreciate artistically plated dishes of uber-expensive ingredients that were acquired by sending some lone sherpa up a precarious mountainside and then to the bottom of some deep, frigid lake teeming with aqua predators for a tiny half ounce flask of something worth a Lamborghini, as long as it tastes good. I can also understand others’ enjoyment of the “finer” things like caviar, fois gras, saffron, and truffles, but this is where my simple tastes take over. These things have never tasted as luxurious and other-worldly to me as their prices would indicate. In fact, I don’t enjoy the way they taste at all. Lobster, too, has never tasted that great to me.

See? A cheapskate’s dream date.

And yet.

And yet.
Lobster Heart*aw* lobsters mate for life! until you eat one of them

And yet.

Despite, my *ahem* non-sentiments about Valentine’s Day and how I would find it extraordinarily useless to buy fresh flowers, diamonds and stuffed animals for one another, I made a Valentine’s Day dinner. Despite my preference for un-fussy presentation and despite my non-love for lobster, I served little heart-shaped towers of avocado, mango, and lobster. Hypocrisy, thy name is Sarah!

But I didn’t eat the lobster.

Well, just a bite.

But I didn’t inhale!

And I wasn’t wearing a single diamond.

Lobster Mango Avocado Tower
Why pretend like there’s a “recipe?” Why? There isn’t. These are just some basic guidelines and a list of resources for how to steam lobster. For two people, use one avocado, one mango, and one lobster. Depending on your appetite, it’s either a generous first course or a light main course.

Dice a ripe avocado.

Toss diced avocado with salt, pepper, and a generous squeeze of either lemon or lime juice. Lemon is traditional (with seafood! just look at the garnish at Red Lobster!), and lime makes it “Cali-Mex.” I hate myself for typing the term “Cali-Mex,” by the way.

Dice a ripe mango.

Steam a big lobster. Let it cool enough so you can handle it without burning yourself, and pull meat out in largest pieces possible. You could toss the lobster meat with melted butter, but as much as I love butter, I find this to be disgusting. I have no idea why — probably because I have it in my head that I hate lobster and not even butter could make it better.

Layer avocado, mango and lobster on a plate using a ring. I used a heart shaped cookie cutter because it’s Valentine’s Day. From the picture, you can tell that I put down the avocado first. You can go all kinds of crazy and put the mango on the bottom.

Resources for Steaming Lobster and Preparing Mango and Avocado:
~ How to Cut an Avocado: I did a pic-tu-torial on Slashfood.
~ How to Cut a Mango: Elise shows how on Simply Recipes
~ How to Steam Lobster: Maine Lobster Council’s instructions

** this post originally published on 02.18.06 **

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  • Barbara

    Oh you tease!

  • Catherine

    Why do I feel like I’ve just looked at Internet porn?

    That reminds me (the picture reminds me, not the porn), warmer seasons are just around the corner! THAT is a perfectly cool dish…mmm

  • Dolores

    Yum… three of my favorite things and a promise for more!

  • Maure

    biscuit girl is right – that is the
    mother of all teases.
    now of course, everytime i accidentally come across internet porn, i’ll think about an avocado/
    lobster tower – and summer.

  • sarah

    awww, thanks guys! and better to get caught with a naked lobster on a bed mango and avocado on your computer screen than…well, porn. LOL!

  • Rasa Malaysia

    OMG, this looks too good I will have to make them…lobsters claws are the best…I guess I can use crab meat or crab claws too. :)

  • sarah

    rasamalaysia: thank you! too bad i made them, but didn’t eat anything but the avocado, to which i am slightly allergic anyway. LOL!

  • sarah

    rasamalaysia: thank you! too bad i made them, but didn’t eat anything but the avocado, to which i am slightly allergic anyway. LOL!

  • Aimée

    This post made me hungry…I could probably pack away all 10 servings of this. Love the flavor profile.

  • natalie

    oh yum! that looks delish!

  • Olga

    What a humorous post!

    I absolutely loved the dish you described. I think it’d be also good with seared tuna.

    Did not you had twin sisters: I’m a twin myself :)

  • Olga

    What a humorous post!

    I absolutely loved the dish you described. I think it’d be also good with seared tuna.

    Did not you had twin sisters: I’m a twin myself :)

  • Anonymous

    Yum yum and yum.

    I love all those three things. And btw, Massages rule. : P

    -Amy

  • The Food Librarian

    This is lovely! I want some right now and it is before 9 am!

  • The Food Librarian

    This is lovely! I want some right now and it is before 9 am!

  • Pandalicious

    how can a girl resist a gorgeous handbag?

    love your pix and blog.

  • sarah j. gim

    aimee: 10 servings? the way i eat, it’s really just barely two ;)

    natalie: thanks!

    olga: oh. OMY. seared tuna is an AWESOME idea! (and i’m not allergic to tuna!)

    anonymous amy: the funny thing is, even with massages, i don’t pay for the $200 massages at the luxury spa that serves cucumber water, provides fluffy robes, and burns aromatherapy candles in the room. i just go into a barebones massage center :)

    food librarian: ain’t nothing wrong with that. i eat potato chips for breakfast (well, not this detox week)

    pandalicious: it’s not easy…but then again, some of those super high end designer handbags aren’t all that pretty right?

  • keri

    Oh WOW. I just ate and am now hungry again. That looks amazing.

    Btw, have you tried shiatsu massage? Can’t beat the $48 price tag for a 60 minute massage….oh, heaven.

  • mattatouille

    Valentine’s is a huge boon to local restaurants and my local kitchen. As in, my kitchen (or maybe this year my girlfriend’s kitchen). Nice idea…I just might use it. Nice post.

  • Tim

    my girlfriend and i are pretty stoked about this little treat. i’m gonna delicious this page and use it later. thanks!

  • Tim

    my girlfriend and i are pretty stoked about this little treat. i’m gonna delicious this page and use it later. thanks!

  • Anna

    Ha, this makes me laugh because I know exactly what you mean! Frou frou food has it moments, but I like my “peasant food” (someone else’s term, not mine) more often than not. My dad’s a chef and loves to do elaborate things with really simple, really accessible food–food at its best, in my opinion.

  • mr.riff

    I made this with fried strips of halloumi instead of the lobster and it worked rather well indeed.

    Many thanks for the idea,

  • Dawn

    oh my stars, what a great photo! I know I would eat that precious little tower very fast.

  • Dawn

    oh my stars, what a great photo! I know I would eat that precious little tower very fast.

  • Greg Pehrson

    Hi Sarah,

    I love you food blog on twitter, as a part time chef i would love to follow you.

  • Kevin

    That looks really good!

  • nick

    Classic:

    “Lobsters mate for life, until you eat one of them”

  • http://www.lobsterqueen.com Lobster Queen

    I love the comment about “peasant food” – I like best food that is local, fresh, in season, and simply prepared. I love lobster, but my preferred way is simply prepared, boiled whole, though I do have a few lobster recipes in my repetoire.

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