Help with Mini Lobster Mac & Cheese Bites

moosemacJanuary 14, 2011

Reading cookingrvc's list of appetizers for the cocktail party for 60, the Mini Mac and Cheese bites caught my eye.

Every year I host a winter party with Turducken as the main course and every year I look for a new appetizer to try. When I saw the Mac & Cheese bites I thought they'd be a perfect fit for my meat and potatoes crowd but I'd like to make them with a twist. I'd like to make Lobster Mac & Cheese bites.

My concerns/thoughts are:

Will the lobster change the consistency enough so that the bites will fall apart?

How much lobster should I use in the recipe?

Should I thicken the sauce more to compensate for the moisture the lobster will bring to the dish?

Here's the recipe cookingrvc posted:

Mini Mac and Cheese Bites

Source: My Italian Grandmother

Ingredients:

1/2 lb elbow macaroni

1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3/4 cup milk

4 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (1 packed cup)

4 ounces deli-sliced American cheese, chopped

1 large egg yolk

1/4 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika (I used regular)

Salt and pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425.

In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the macaroni until al dente. Drain and run under cold water to stop the cooking process and to keep the macaroni from sticking to itself.

Spray two 12 cup muffin tins with Pam and sprinkle half the Parmigiano cheese into the bottom of the cups. (Can also use mini muffin tins)

In a large saucepan, melt the butter, then over medium heat, whisk in the flour. Cook for two minutes until boiling. Whisk in the milk and continue whisking until boiling, about 5 minutes. It should be nice and thick. Stir in the American and cheddar cheeses until melted. Off the heat, stir in the egg yolk and paprika. Fold in the macaroni. This is also a good time to taste and season accordingly. I like to add salt and a lot of pepper during this step.

Spoon evenly into the muffin cups and sprinkle with remaining Parmigiano cheese. (I have decided to skip this step and put all the Parmigiano cheese into the bottom of the tins, I think it makes the bites a little too crunchy to have this extra cheese on top, but that's just our preference).

Bake in the upper part of the oven for about ten minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes so they don't fall apart. Use a spoon to remove them from the muffin tins.

Any thoughts?

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foodonastump

This reminds me that you said you'd try to take and post step by step photos next time you make it. Hint, hint!

As for the lobster, just a guess but I'm thinking I'd slightly undercook the lobster, say steam 10 minutes instead of 15, chop pretty small and I think you'll be fine.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2011 at 6:23PM
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moosemac

FOAS,
Thanks. That's right I did say I post photos next time I make a Turducken. I have some bad news though...my husbands's nephew is the general manager at a large butcher shop. I taught him how to make them and all their stores sold out during the holidays. Since he is attending the party, he volunteered to make one at the butcher shop for me. Hence I won't have any pictures for you this year. Sorry! Since he's using my recipe, it'll be just like I made it. I hope...

    Bookmark   January 14, 2011 at 7:58PM
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moosemac

Hi All,
Thought I'd share an update:
I did a couple quick half batches for yesterday's football group. The first batch I stuck to the recipe except I added the lobster. The second batch got the thumbs up, I made the following changes:
Brushed the muffin tin with melted butter instead of spraying with PAM.
Dusted with Progresso Parmesan bread crumbs instead of grated parmesan. The bites held up better.
Used 3/4 cup of diced lobster plus more for garnish.
Added a tbs. of very finely minced onion sauteed in the butter before I added the flour.
Added just a dash of Worcestershire sauce to the cheese sauce.
Topped each bite with extra diced lobster before baking. Cooled bites 10 minutes instead of 5 before removing from the pan.
I wish I had thought to take pictures...

FYI-A whole recipe makes 48 bites using a mini muffin tin.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2011 at 11:36AM
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cookingrvc

Moosemac,

Thanks for sharing the results. If these make it back in the menu I will use your changes.

Sue

    Bookmark   January 16, 2011 at 6:51PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

My only incredibly minor thought is that smoked paprika is amazing and does not compare to regular. It's become my favorite spice recently and I can't say enough about it.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2011 at 9:06PM
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moosemac

I have to admit, I used regular paprika...that's probably why it needed a little extra flavor from the worcestershire. I'm going to see if I can find some smoked paprika locally so I can use it.

I forgot to mention but the lobster is cooked lobster. I did as FOAS suggested and steamed it until just cooked. I dried it very well before dicing and patted it dry again before I folded it in.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2011 at 8:43AM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I've bought it locally, McCormick's fancy, glass jar brand.
Spanish paprika.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2011 at 9:11AM
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