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Heirloom Tomato, Lobster, Peach and Stracciatella Salad

Geoffrey Zakarian's Tomato-Peach Lobster Salad
Geoffrey Zakarian's Tomato-Peach Lobster SaladZach Pagano / TODAY


Pickled red onions
  • 2 cups port wine
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom seeds
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 red onion, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch thick rings
  • Lobster
  • 1 2-pound lobster, boiled and chilled, cut into large chunks
  • Basil seed vinaigrette
  • 1 large ripe heirloom tomato
  • 2 ounces basil seeds, soaked in 10 ounces of water
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely minced shallot
  • Salad
  • 1 large ripe peache, cut into 6 large, bite-size chunks
  • Coarse sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 6 ounces stracciatella cheese
  • Basil seed vinaigrette (recipe above)
  • 12 pieces pickled red onion rings (recipe above)
  • 12 small basil leaves
  • Extra virgin olive oil, as needed to garnish
  • Chef notes

    I love this recipe because it touches on the best flavors of summer: fresh lobster, peaches, tomatoes and basil. The vinaigrette is nothing more than the pulp of the actual tomatoes, which enhances the whole dish.

    Technique tip: Be sure to weigh the basil seeds and water before mixing. The ratio of seeds to water needs to be 1 to 5 for the consistency to turn out properly.


    For the pickled red onions:

    In a small pan, bring all of the ingredients except the onions to a boil. Remove from the heat, pour over the onions, and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate overnight before using.

    For the lobster:


    Season boiling water until it is salty like the sea. Prepare an ice bath.


    Boil the whole lobster for 8 minutes and remove. Twist off the tail (ensure it is fully cooked as it shouldn't be opaque in the center) and place in the ice water. Remove the claws to the water for an additional 4 minutes. Shock in ice water.


    Using the back of a knife, hit the rounded part of the claw to crack it, and remove the meat. Using a towel, press down on the tails to expose the meat, and remove. The knuckles may be removed by cutting the shell wish scissors.

    For the basil seed vinaigrette:

    Cut the tomato into 6 large, bite-size chunks, remove the skin by cutting around the outside of each chunk. Collect all the seeds, juice and skin and reserve the large chunks for the salad. You may use an extra over ripe tomato if additional pulp is needed. Pass all these scraps through a food mill or pulse in a food processor.

    Whisk the basil seeds and soaking water with the red wine vinegar, fresh tomato juice and olive oil. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

    For the salad:


    Cut the peach into large, bite-size chunks. Lay each chunk on the cutting board, skin-side down, and remove the skin by cutting around the outside of each chunk.


    Season the tomato and peach with sea salt and pepper. Divide the chunks of tomato and chunks of peach at random around the three plates. Top each chunk with a dollop of stracciatella. Divide the lobster on the plates and season, as well as the cheese with sea salt and pepper.


    Dress each tomato and lobster piece with basil seed vinaigrette. Place the pickled onions on top and garnish with basil leaves. Drizzle each plate with extra virgin olive oil.