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.”
“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!