Scal-Lob Mac n Cheese -The Best Potluck Ever
Lobster Mac n Cheese has in recent years become enormously popular. There is one way to make it even more delicious—add farmed whole Princess scallops. Just as farming scallops and hauling lobsters can go together, these two seafoods somehow enhance each other. Best of all, if you live near the Maine coast you might be able to get the sweeter, tenderer lobsters in the middle of molting known as Shedders or New Shell lobsters.
Pictured here are shucked and gutted scallops, shedder meats, the juices from the lobster claws, and standard white sauce. Oh yes, there is also that secret ingredient that gives a mild and velvety smoothness: cream of cheddar canned soup.
Whatever blend of sauce ingredients you use, you are aiming for a rather ‘high tide’ effect. The pasta will absorb some of the sauce but if you aim for a level that just barely reaches the top of the other ingredients, your mac n cheese will not end up being dry or soupy.
Guidelines for Quantities
2 cups of dried pasta will give you 4 cups when cooked c. 4 minutes, slightly chewy al dente.
Three or Four dozen scallops for 1 ½ C shucked and gutted scallops
Two or three small shedders for 1 1/2-2 cups of lobster meat
Now the instructions for the liquid component get a bit tricky. One could simply say To your 3 cups of add-ins, add 3 cups of liquids and 1 cup of shredded cheese and leave it at that. However, you have probably already learned that the liquid from preparing scallops has a remarkable flavor. The shedder lobster juices have this same characteristic—essence of the creature. (Our recipes rarely add salt because the essence, sea water, and cheeses add plenty for most tastes.)
The Sauce Components
1 can of undiluted cheddar soup
1 cup shredded cheese- from a 6-8 oz block of mild cheddar. The orange kind of mild cheddar colored with annatto is great. The specks you see in the photo above show that you really do not have to melt that cheese in the following s white sauce. The baking process will do that for you. If you do not use the soup, you will want to add ½ cup more cheese to taste and make an additional cup of the following white sauce:
1 cup of Béchamel or white sauce (whatever you want to call it) made from the standard 2 Tablespoons of flour rubbed into 2 Tablespoons of melted butter with 1 cup warm milk added gradually and cooked until thickened.
1 cup liquids from scallops and lobster if you are so lucky; otherwise use whatever Half n Half or milk you need to bring the sauce level up to a fairly ‘high tide’ as pictured.
Most people like a crumb topping.. Melt 2+ tablespoons butter and add 1 cup Panko, or bread crumbs and maybe ¼ cup Parmesan cheese and a few Tablespoons of Wheat germ. By browning the crumbs in butter ahead of time in a frying pan you control the process easily.
If you choose to decorate the top with a few lobster claw tips and scallops, dip them in melted butter first to keep them moist as the casserole bakes.
Bake at 400˚ for 20 minutes, until bubbly around the edges. Since you have already browned the crumb topping and you do not want to overcook the tender seafoods, that’s probably all you need.