At the beginning every October, my dad holds a community event known as the Lobster Fest. It involves about 700 lobsters, gallons of homemade clam chowder, acres of corn on the cob and, mussels — lots of mussels. What’s even cooler? It’s held in a horse field. Specifically, a horse field on Justice Snowden Farm next to INOVA Mt. Vernon hospital.
My dad started this tradition as a political fundraiser and it has become a community must-attend Fall event. Even though 300-400 people come to eat their lobster on premises or get their lobster platter “to go,” we always have leftovers.
Every year I try to figure out what to do with the leftover lobster. I’ve frozen it in milk, then used it later in a seafood casserole. I’ve made lobster bisque, lobster salad, etc. But this year, I decided to go completely decadent and find a lobster mac and cheese recipe worthy of this amazing shellfish. Oh my. Find one I did.
“Oh yeah, babe.”
Yes, an Emeril Lagasse recipe did just the trick to turn already decadent fresh lobster into a completely rich beyond rich affair. While the recipe calls for a variety of seafood, I just used lobster.
The ingredients, as you might guess, are fairly straightforward: lobster meat (duh), elbow macaroni, butter, flour, onion, garlic, whole milk, a mixture of cheeses, ground nutmeg, salt and pepper, Panko breadcrumbs, and Creole seasoning.
The recipe is incredibly easy. Boil macaroni 2 minutes less than al dente. Set aside. Melt the butter and cook the onion and garlic until translucent. Make a roux by adding the flour. Then add the milk, simmer until thick and season with the spices. Mix the sauce with the cheese, macaroni and lobster. Top with the buttered Panko breadcrumbs. Bake at 400 until bubbly and dig in!
Here’s the full recipe for your gorging pleasure:
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 pound elbow macaroni
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
3 cups whole milk
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 pound coarsely chopped cooked lobster, shrimp, crawfish, or crabmeat, or a combination
4 cups (1 pound) mixed grated cheeses, such as Parmesan, cheddar, Swiss, and fontina
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon Emeril’s Creole Seasoning
COOK’S NOTE: A touch of Creole seasoning (a blend of spices like garlic powder, paprika, and thyme) adds oomph. Store-bought can substitute for Emeril’s recipe.
Preheat oven to 400. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook macaroni 2 minutes less than al dente. Drain; rinse with cold water. Set aside.
While pasta is cooking, melt butter over medium in a large saucepan. Transfer 2 tablespoons melted butter to a medium bowl, and reserve. Add onion and garlic to pan; cook until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add flour; cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add milk; whisk until smooth. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, and cook until sauce has thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and nutmeg.
Remove pan from heat. Fold in seafood, macaroni, and cheese; transfer to a shallow 4-quart baking dish. To bowl with reserved melted butter, add breadcrumbs and Creole seasoning; toss, and scatter over macaroni mixture. Place baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until topping is golden and sauce is bubbling, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.
Reprinted courtesy of marthastewart.com