CHERYL WIXSON PHOTO

Mac and cheese goes upscale



Our daughter Emily and son-in-law Kent are hosting their first holiday party in their new home in Dryden, N.Y. Excited to receive the invitation, I texted Emily our reply. “What do you want me to make for your party?”

“Haha … maybe a cheeseball?” she shot back. Then true to her Maine roots, she replied, “I really want something with Maine lobster.”

“Lobster cheesecake?”

“Umm, I dunno about that. Finger food. Easy. How about lobster mac and cheese bites (in mini cupcake tins), or even better, smoked lobster mac and cheese? Yum!”

Happy to oblige, I was inspired to create. Smoked Lobster Mac & Cheese Bites certainly sounds luxurious, but is relatively easy to do in advance, and the cost of ingredients doesn’t break the bank.

For 60 bites, the recipe uses eight ounces of cooked lobster, just one cup of Maine lobster meat. And I assure you, frozen Maine lobster, available year-round in the supermarket and in fishing families’ home freezers, works great.

The key to the lavish lobster smoked flavor is the cook’s combination of cheeses used to prepare the Mornay or cheese sauce. Mornay is a Béchamel sauce (one of the four French mother sauces), to which cheese is added. For those of you who have never prepared this classic white sauce, I encourage you to give it a try.

First start by making a roux of melted butter and flour. Melt the butter in a saucepan and whisk in the flour. It will quickly become quite thick. Slowly whisk in the milk and cream and cook, continuing to whisk, until you have a thickened sauce. Some folks like to warm the milk, and find it easier to whisk into the roux.

Use cream cheese or my favorite, local goat cheese from Red Barn Farm, to thicken the sauce, then stir in your choice of 12 ounces total of grated smoked and creamy cheeses. Smoked Gouda or Cheddar work well.

With this much fat delivering intense, creamy flavor, the Maine lobster really shines. Be sure to serve these addictive Smoked Lobster Mac & Cheese Bites with plenty of napkins. They’re delicious paired with a glass of champagne or sparkling cider, or a home brew.

Alas, we’re not traveling to New York to enjoy the party. But I did tell Emily to be creative with her cheese sauce, and if you have any questions on the preparation, a text to (207) 852-0899 works fine. Happy cooking!

Smoked Lobster Mac & Cheese Bites
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Servings
60 bites
Servings
60 bites
Smoked Lobster Mac & Cheese Bites
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
Servings
60 bites
Servings
60 bites
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Maine lobster finely chopped, 8 oz.
  • 1 lb. elbow macaroni
  • 4 Tbsps. butter/lobster tomalley
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • 2 cups combination of milk and cream (more cream, richer bites)
  • 4 oz. cream cheese or plain goat cheese
  • 12 oz. total of grated cheese: smoked Cheddar, sharp Cheddar, smoked Gouda, Jarlsberg, Gruyere.
  • Fresh black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
Servings: bites
Units:
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until al dente. Finely chop the lobster meat and set aside.
  2. To prepare the cheese sauce, melt the butter (and tomalley) in a large saucepan. Add the flour and whisk until smooth. Slowly add the milk and cream, continuing to cook and whisk until the mixture is smooth and thick. Add the cream cheese (or goat cheese) and stir until melted.
  3. Reduce the heat, and stir in the grated cheeses, cooking and stirring until the cheese sauce is smooth. Remove from heat.
  4. Drain the pasta and add to a large bowl. Stir in the finely chopped lobster and cheese sauce, mixing well. Taste the mixture, and add freshly grated black pepper if needed.
  5. To prepare the Bites, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease mini muffin tins, 60 total needed.
  6. Scoop mac and cheese into the mini muffin tins. Top with a sprinkle of breadcrumbs. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on a rack for 10 minutes. Serve with plenty of napkins.
Recipe Notes

Nutritional analysis per bite: 83 calories, 4 grams protein, 7 grams fat, 4 grams carbohydrates, 75 mg. sodium, less than 1 gram fiber.

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Cheryl Wixson
"Maine Dish" columnist Cheryl Wixson lives and cooks in Stonington. Her passion for organic Maine products led to the creation of her business, Cheryl Wixson's Kitchen. She welcomes food-related questions and comments at [email protected] or www.cherylwixsonskitchen.com.
Cheryl Wixson

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