Saturday, February 01, 2020

Nick and Sam's: Lobster Macaroni and Cheese

I've wanted to make lobster mac and cheese for quite a while.  I mean, what could possibly be more delicious than two fantastic dishes in one comforting pot?  And I didn't want just some Velveeta thrown in with the lobster.  That would be an insult to the lobster.  So I looked for a chef-made fancy version.  And I spend several days on this project, working towards my ultimate reward.  Only to be....let down.  What a bummer.  The lobster butter didn't have any sort of super awesome flavor.  And the mac and cheese was honestly not that great.  I'm not sure what Nick and Sam's is actually serving in the restaurant, but I'll give this one a pass.  If it only took 30 minutes, it might be worth it.  If you just really love challenges, go for it.

Lobster Macaroni and Cheese
Adapted from Nick and Sam's, as seen at The Dallas Morning News

1 pound dry tortiglioni
12 ounces Lobster Béchamel (see below)
Cooked Lobster meat (see below)
Lobster Bread Crumbs (see below)
½ cup shredded 2-year aged white Cheddar cheese
½ cup shredded mozzarella
Chopped parsley, to garnish

Boil water with salt in a medium pot. Stir in macaroni and cook 7 to 8 minutes until macaroni is tender, stirring occasionally. Drain pasta. Do not rinse!

In large sauté pan, add Lobster Béchamel and heat over medium heat. Then add cooked pasta, lobster meat, and both cheeses, stirring together until mixed well. Place mixture in a medium-sized serving bowl, top with bread crumbs, and toast under broiler until golden brown. Use parsley to garnish.

Makes 4 servings

Cooked Lobster
2 (1½-pound) lobsters

Fill a large pot with water. Salt to taste. When water is boiling, add lobsters and cook for 10 minutes. While lobster cooks, fill a large bowl with ice water. After 10 minutes, remove lobsters from pot and quickly place in ice water to stop them from cooking further.  Crack open the shells and remove the meat from the tails and claws, which should yield about ½ pound total.  Rinse out shells and set aside for Lobster Butter.

Lobster Butter
2 pounds unsalted butter
½ pound lobster shells
1 tablespoon lobster base

Preheat oven to 400°F. Place lobster shells on a baking sheet pan and place in oven.  Roast lobster shells until a deep red or orange color develops, 15 to 20 minutes.

While shells are roasting, add butter to a small pot. Melt butter on medium heat. When butter is completely melted, whisk in lobster base.

When the shells are done roasting, add them to the pot of butter. Adjust heat until a simmer is achieved. Using a ladle, skim the top of the butter, removing all impurities forming on top of the butter. Repeat this process for about 30 minutes. Butter should be toasted orange in color. Strain through a fine strainer and discard shells.

Lobster Béchamel
1 cup Lobster Butter, divided use
4 small shallots, sliced thin (about ¼ pound)
5 to 6 sprigs fresh thyme
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons cognac
4 to 5 ounces roasted lobster shells
½ quart whole milk
1 quart heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups shredded 2-year aged white Cheddar
Salt and pepper to taste

Melt ½ cup Lobster Butter in small stock pot on medium heat. Add sliced shallots, thyme, and garlic to pot. Sauté all ingredients until onions are translucent. Make sure not to caramelize onions or garlic. Add the cognac, and let simmer for 1 to 2 minutes. Add lobster shells, milk, heavy cream, and nutmeg. Reduce heat to a simmer and simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

In a separate small stock pot, melt remaining ½ cup Lobster Butter over medium heat. When butter is completely melted, add flour and whisk together thoroughly. Keep stirring over medium heat for 5 to 8 minutes. Then place strainer over the pot and add cream from the other pot. Discard items in the strainer and keep stirring until sauce thickness is achieved. While sauce is still hot, stir in Cheddar cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Lobster Bread Crumbs
1 heaping cup panko bread crumbs
⅓ cup Lobster Butter, melted

Combine ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

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