Sunday, October 24, 2010

Baked lobster in Mornay Sauce


Having bought three frozen Canadian lobsters "chicks" for NOK 99, I planned a treat for my guests when we arrived for a short weekend at our summer home. Baked lobster in Mornay Sauce was an awesome starter!!

Native Norwegian lobsters is increasingly becoming a rare and very expensive dish. Due to over fishing, they are in decline, and when in season, you will have to pay up to NOK 500 per kilo.

We are, luckily, supplied with American and Canadian lobsters in abundance. The small frozen ones are not good enough to be enjoyed as they are, but delicious when prepared for different warm dishes.

It is important not to over cook pre-cooked lobsters, as this makes the meat rubbery and tough to eat.

Mornay Sauce

Mornay Sauce is basically a bechamel sauce with cheese. It is said to be named after Philippe de Mornay (5 November 1549 – 11 November 1623), seigneur du Plessis Marly, a French Protestant writer and member of the Monarchomaques ("killer of kings").

The bechamel was, however, invented much later, and is probably a 19th century invention of the restaurant Le Grand Véfour in Paris.

Here is a recipe that makes around 500 ml sauce.

2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
350 ml / 8 fluid oz milk, heated
60 grams / 2 ounces Gruyere or Swiss cheese, grated
60 grams / 2 ounces Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Dash nutmeg, freshly ground
salt
pepper

Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat. Add flour and cook slowly for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. The mixture should get foamy or frothy but not brown.

Add the hot milk and whisk vigorously until smooth. Add seasoning and return to the heat and boil for about 1 minute over medium high heat. Remove from heat, add cheeses and stir until incorporated completely. Add cayenne.

Allow sauce to cool down.

Baked lobster in Mornay Sauce


Divide the lobsters.

Dispose of the the stomach close to the mouth. Remove as much as the tail meat and meat found in the head as you can get out. Cut larger chunks into smaller pieces.

Wash the shells under running water and place on a baking tray.

Add sauce to the lobster meat and stir well. Fill stew into the empty shells. Add freshly ground pepper and cheese.

Place in a hot oven, 200C / 400F and bake until cheese is lightly brown and the sauce is bubbling.

Serve with a good glass (or two) of sparkling wine - or even better - Champagne!!

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