This salad is a specialty of Sydney, Australia. Contrary to what might look, balmain bugs are not insects. They are a type of slipper lobster, not a true lobster, but they have a taste and texture similar to Maine lobsters.

Balmain Bug Salad
Recipe type: Lobster
Serves: 2
  • For the Dressing:
  • 2 Tablespoons natural yogurt
  • 1/2 clove garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 Tablespoons olive oil
  • For the Salad:
  • 12 cooked, prepared balmain bugs
  • 1 Cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 large, ripe avocado, sliced
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 Cup snow peas or mangetout
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
  1. Dressing
    Mix all the ingredients, whisking briskly to make an even emulsion. Season with salt and pepper to your taste.
  2. Salad
    Remove the meat from the balmain bugs and chop roughly. Toss with the remaining ingredients in a bowl. Distribute the salad between two plates, drizzle over the dressing. You are ready to serve!
Balmain bugs are common in the fish markets along the eastern Australian coast. At 4 inches (20 cm), they look more like prehistoric creatures than prawns, with a shape similar to trilobites. The tail is the edible part. Like prawns, heads and bodies can be used for stock. The meat is as sweet as prawns, texture slightly firmer than prawns.

Slipper lobsters or shovel-nosed lobsters are related to balmain bugs.

If you cannot find balmain bugs -they are usually sold in fish markets along Australian eastern coast, especially Sydney, any crustacean will be a good replacement. Substitute balmain bugs with prawns, shrimp, crab or lobster. Use 1 lobster, cooked and prepared for this recipe.

Our publisher, once passing through Midway Airport in Chicago, enjoyed this salad, complete with Balmain Bug, at a smart little gourmet food shop. Simply delicious!

Serve with a superb, dry white wine.

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