Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Posh Nosh - Lobster Mac & Cheese

Normally, I snub my nose at Seafood with Cheese.  I like to TASTE my seafood and cheese tends to be a little to overpowering for the subtlety of things like Lobster and Crab.

That being said, I have found exceptions to this basic "rule".  One of these is Lobster Mac & Cheese.  As long as the cheese is a mild and subtle one, it can be one of the most delectably decadent dishes you will ever consume.

Danish Fontina is my go to cheese for this application.  This mild, subtly nutty cheese is smooth melting as well, which makes for a perfect sauce addition.    I based this "sauce" loosely on "Lobster Newburg", so it's loaded with cream, in 3 different forms.  The Fontina cheese replaces the egg yolks, but I could not leave out the "kick".  Thus, I tossed in some Tabasco, instead of Cayenne, and left the Cognac in to kind of pull everything together and smooth out any rough edges. (it's a miracle liquor in cooking)

The "Lobster" I chose is the smaller Squat Lobster.. which is what is usually used in restaurants for such applications as this. It's usually referred to as Langostine or Langostino in the United States, but could even be sold as "scampi", because the seafood naming conventions in the U.S. are REALLY wishy washy...  Don't get me started on "Colossal Shrimp" that are really prawns (cause there is a difference between a prawn and a shrimp).

Lobster Mac & Cheese

4 oz Unsalted Butter
1 Shallot, minced fine
3 TB AP Flour
1 cup Heavy Cream
6 oz Mascarpone
4 oz Crème Fraîche
1 TB Tabasco
3 TB Cognac
12 oz Danish Fontina
1/4 tsp White Pepper
16 oz Medium Shells
12 oz Langostine (Previously Cooked)
~optional - Black Truffle oil

Parmigiano-Reggiano, shredded

Corning Ware A-3-B or P-2 1/2-B
Corning Ware A-5-B
Corning Ware P-332 OR 6 of the French White F-16 ramekins OR 6 of the P-14-B Casser-ettes from the Heat n' Eat line (Grab-its)

Fill your A-5-B with 4 quarts of water... Add about 1 1/2 TB of sea salt and place over High flame.

Place your A-3-B (P-2 1/2-B) over Medium-Low flame and add the butter to the saucepan.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
When the foaming subsides, add the shallot and saute until soft.

Whisk in the Flour and cook the resulting roux until bubbly and begins to smell nutty.

Add the Heavy Cream and bring to a simmer.

Add Mascarpone and stir until melted and smooth.

Whisk in the Crème Fraîche and bring back to a simmer again.

Add the Tobasco,

then the Cognac.

and cook everything until it begins to thicken slightly....

By now you should be able to drop your pasta into salted boiling water and cook for 3/4 the time listed on the package.

Begin adding the shredded Fontina to the simmering sauce, a little at a time, whisking until completely melted before adding the next handful.

When melted and smooth, whisk in 1/4 tsp White Pepper.

Drain the pasta and return it to the pot.

Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta and add the Langostine, then toss it all together to coat the shells well.

Now, you can either pour the resulting deliciousness into a P-332 (like I did this time)

Divide the pasta between 6 of the Casser-ettes (P-14-B) from the Heat n' Eat line (which is what I did the last time)

Divide the pasta between 6 French White F-16 Ramekins in the same manner... It all depends on how you want to present the dish.

If you are going that "little bit extra" now is the time to lightly drizzle with Black Truffle Oil.

Sprinkle Parmigiano-Reggiano lightly over the top (just a little bit, don't over do it) and sprinkle with Panko.

Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes for the Ramekins/Casser-ettes or 15 minutes for the P-332.

Turn on the broiler and broil for 3-5 minutes... just enough to color the top.

mmmm Lobster Newburg goodness in pasta form.

Where is your Corning Ware??

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