What's a langostino? It's a poor girl's "sort of" lobster - a Spanish word for a crustacean that is larger than a prawn and smaller than a lobster. In plain language, it's extremely yum and affordable. I picked up a pound of frozen langostino tails at Trader Joe's last week for around $10.00, saving for a day that we were craving lobster mac and cheese.
There are a ton of recipes out there, including my usual favorite from Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa, but last night I found a different version to experiment with from Coastal Living Magazine.
Here's their version!
16 ounces corkscrew pasta
6 tablespoons butter - divided
1/2 cup chopped finely red onion
2 large garlic cloves
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups grated sharp Cheddar Cheese
1 1/2 cups grated Gruyere Cheese
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup minced fresh chives
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. salt - divided
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper - divided
1 pound chopped lobster meat (or langostino tails!)
2 cups oyster crackers, crushed
1. cook pasta until al dente, drain, rinse with cold water and drain again. I did not use corkscrew pasta - used small sea shell pasta as I thought it would be a little more festive for my lobsters!
2. Place 4 tablespoons of melted butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add garlic and onion, cook 5 minutes or until onion is softened. Here's also where I strayed from the recipe... used 1 chopped shallot and one sweet yellow onion and threw in some fresh lemon thyme leaves.
3. Whisk in flour, cook 1 minute. Pour in milk; bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking and stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 3 minutes or until sauce is smooth and thickened. Used 2 cups 1% milk (can't stand to have whole milk in our house) and 1 cup of cream left over from a recipe experiment last week. Made the sauce super rich and yummy!
4. Remove from heat, and whisk in cheeses and next three ingredients. Stir in 1/4 tsp of salt ( you may want more with seafood) and 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper. I skipped the chives, used lemon pepper and added some more lemon thyme leaves.
5. Fold in pasta and lobster. Pour into baking dish(es). Since there are only 2 of us, I used 2 small baking dishes and put the extra one in the freezer.
6. Combine crushed crackers and remaining 2 T of melted butter. Stir in 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper - sprinkle over casserole. (I skipped this entire step)
7. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, or until crust is crisp and sauce is bubbly.
A few things to keep in mind:
1. The Dijon was FABULOUS in this recipe, don't skip.
2. Don't worry about having exactly the same cheese in the recipe, use up all of the little bits in your fridge. In our case, I used left over mozzarella a Mexican blend of grated cheeses, Gouda and the last of our Tillamook cheddar. A nice Toscano would have been delish too.
3. I used lemon pepper and lemon thyme just because I thought those ingredients are such a great blend with seafood, and because it's what we had in our fridge!
Our beach table scape!
Fish Flatware - could not resist, kept a set for us!
Stemless Wine Glasses - I have the fish, but I really would like to have a set of these starfish ones!
Have a great weekend -