Charles “Chaz” Doherty IV uses “thick and meaty” Hokkien Stir Fry Noodles for this dish, which can be found in your local grocery store. He experimented with a lot of other noodles, and notes that pad Thai noodles, egg noodles and soba noodles won’t work in this recipe.
Morgan is a hard cheese made by Lakin’s Gorges cheeses in Rockport. Locally, it’s sold at Aurora Provisions, Black Tie Market, K. Horton Specialty Foods and Rosemont Market. But if you can’t find it or they are sold out, Doherty says a Parmigiano-Reggiano that’s on the milder side will work just as well.
“It can’t be something too overpowering, or the lemon grass won’t come out,” he said.
THAI MY LOBSTER
From Charles “Chaz” Doherty IV, chef at Trackside Station, Rockland
Serves 4 to 6
Two or more 1½ pound lobsters
Hokkien Stir Fry Noodles
Scallions, bias cut
For the bechamel sauce:
4 cans (13.5 ounces) coconut milk
1 ounce fresh ginger, shaved on a microplane
2 sprigs lemon grass
8 sprigs lemon thyme
2 to 3 tablespoons red curry paste
4 ounces butter
3 ounces rice flour
Salt and pepper to taste
6 ounces Morgan (from Lakin’s Gorges Cheese in Rockport)
For the pickled vegetables:
8 ounces daikon
1 red bell pepper
Cilantro to taste
1 quart rice wine vinegar
1 quart water
1½ cup sugar
¾ cup salt
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
Heat a pan and add the butter.
Add the red curry paste and toast until it doesn’t burn your nostrils. Add rice flour and make a roux. Add the coconut milk.
Smash the lemon grass with the back of your blade to release essential oils. Add the lemon thyme, the lemon grass and shaved ginger to the coconut milk. Let it simmer for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the pickled vegetables (these are best made a day ahead and chilled). Grab a pot and zest, roll and squeeze the lemons into it. Then add everything except the red pepper, daikon and cilantro and bring to a boil.
Skin and julienne the red pepper and daikon. (Be sure to remove the pith from inside the red pepper.) Place the red pepper and daikon inside a container and pour the boiling liquid over them (straining the liquid is optional).
Strain the bechamel, then add the cheese to the sauce.
Take 10 ounces of sauce, as much lobster as you want, and 6 ounces pasta and heat it all up.
Toss the pickled vegetables with cilantro. (Don’t be afraid to use some of the juice like a vinaigrette in a salad.) Mix the scallions in with the pasta mixture right before serving.
Plate the mac and cheese, and top with the pickled veggies. Finish with a drizzle of fish sauce and a squeeze of lime juice. Add a smear of sriracha to the plate to give the dish some heat.
Deanna Zoe Smith originally made this lobster mac and cheese about four years ago for her son-in-law and her granddaughter. The lemon zest in the crumb topping adds just enough tartness without overwhelming the flavor of the lobster. Smith prefers the sweet meat of soft-shell lobsters, and she uses plenty of it. For the Lobsterpalooza contest, she added a lemon and parsley garnish.
“I cook pretty simply,” she said. “I don’t come up with all the fancy presentations. I just like to cook, and I think the food should stand on its own. It’s lobster mac and cheese, so OK, that’s what I made.”
MEME’S LOBSTER MAC ‘N CHEESE
From Deanna Zoe Smith, Tenants Harbor
Meat from six cooked 1¼-pound lobsters, chopped into 1-inch pieces.
16-ounce box medium shell pasta, cooked
1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
1 cup grated, extra sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup small dice fresh mozzarella cheese
Make a white sauce of 6 tablespoons flour and 6 tablespoons butter, salt, pepper and 4½ cups whole milk. When thickened, add the cheese and stir until mostly melted. Do not let boil.
Add the drained pasta and lobster meat, and pour into a 9-by-13 pan.
Top with a mixture of buttered panko bread crumbs, fresh lemon zest and grated asagio cheese, all to taste. (I use 1 cup panko, ¼ cup melted butter, 1 tablespoon lemon zest and ½ cup asagio.
Bake until bubbly at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.Louise MacLellan-Ruf went through a lot of different versions of her lobster mac and cheese before settling on this one, which includes splashes of Worcestershire sauce, sriracha, even a little Maine maple syrup.
MOLLIE’S DECADENT MASCARPONE BAKED SHELLS WITH MAINE LOBSTER
From Mollie Sanders, Kittery Point
Time: 30 minutes hands on, 30 minutes hands off
1 pound shell-shaped pasta, cooked al dente
1½ pounds fresh lobster meat, cut into bite-sized pieces
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large sweet onion, diced
4 small cloves garlic, minced
½ cup flour
4 cups whole milk
8 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated
8 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
5 ounces Parmesan, grated
8 ounces mascarpone
1 teaspoon dry ground mustard
½ teaspoon cayenne
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup panko bread crumbs
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
In small saute pan over medium heat, melt the 2 tablespoons of butter and saute onions for 2 to 3 minutes, add garlic and cook until translucent. Set aside.
In large pot over medium heat, melt the ½ cup of butter, add lobster meat, and simmer turns a good pink color, about 10 minutes. Remove lobster meat with slotted spoon and add flour to butter, stirring constantly, to make a roux. Cook the roux for two minutes, slowly add milk, pepper, ground mustard and cayenne, and whisk over medium heat until hot and thickened (about 10 to 15 minutes). Add mascarpone, stir to melt it, then gradually add remaining cheeses. Add sauteed onions and garlic.
Fold in lobster meat and cooked shells. Pour mixture into greased four-quart baking dish and sprinkle with panko crumbs and paprika.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes until bubbly and lightly browned. Let sit for 10 to 20 minutes before serving.
LOBSTER MAC AND CHEESE ROCKLAND STYLE
From Louise MacLellan-Ruf, Rockland
1 pound (or more) cooked lobster meat cut into bite-sized pieces
16-ounce box mini bow tie pasta, cooked al dente
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
3½ cups whipping cream
2 teaspoons paprika
¼ cup of sherry (not cooking sherry)
1/8 to ¼ cup lobster stock
8 ounces mascarpone cheese
1 cup mild cheddar cheese
3 tablespoons cream cheese
Splash each of Worcestershire sauce, sriracha sauce and maple syrup
2 cloves smashed roasted garlic
Tamale from the lobsters
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Melt 4 tablespoons butter. Add the flour and whisk to make a roux. Add the whipping cream and whisk to combine on low heat.
Whisk in 2 teaspoons of paprika, then the sherry. Simmer 3 to 4 minutes, then mix in 1/8 to ¼ cup lobster stock. When thickened, add the three cheeses, then just a splash of the Worcester, sriracha and maple syrup. Add the garlic and tamale.
Add cooked lobster meat to cheese sauce, and then fold in the pasta. If sauce needs thinning, add some milk or lobster stock.
Pour lobster mixture into a buttered casserole dish and sprinkle with bread crumb topping. (See below.) Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbly.
Allow to rest 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
Bread crumb topping:
1 sleeve crushed Ritz crackers
Zest of two lemons
¼ cup melted butter and parsley
Combine butter and crushed crackers, lemon zest and parsley.