First things first: HI!!!!  *waves* If you’re finding me from Consumerist.com or Pinterest, welcome. I hope you find something you like. I finally figured out how to add the Pinterest button to all my posts so if it makes you smile, please click 🙂

I mentioned earlier in the week that I’m on a quinoa kick and have had a fridge full of lobster claws, so lets try something different.  My friends and family love my seafood mac and cheese, but lots of special people in my world are going gluten-free for a variety of reasons. I think this is a great way for someone who is gluten sensitive or insulin resistant to have something creamy and hearty.

Three variations on a theme below – let’s roll, below the cut!

""

Oooey Gooey Easy Cheesy Quinoa Lobster Bake

Ingredients:

  • 1 c uncooked Quinoa
  • 2 slices of bacon (optional)
  • 1 c lobster meat (approx 5 medium claws, chopped)
  • 1 c shrimp (approx. 20 medium shrimp)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 c cooked spinach (approx 6 cups raw)
  • 1 c mushrooms (optional)
  • Easy Method: 8oz of your favorite creamy cheese dip (ie. Jarlsberg)
  • Not As Easy Method: 8 oz of your favorite shredded white cheese (ie. pepperjack, white cheddar, fontina, havarti), 1/2 cup of milk, 1 tbsp flour of choice, 1tsp butter, margarine, or olive oil.

1. If you’re using bacon, saute and render the fat out. Set crisped bacon aside and use the remaining oil to saute the onions. If you’re rolling meat-free, hit it with some olive oil and a pinch of kosher salt.Follow suit with mushrooms and spinach

Quick Tip: To take sauteed spinach to the next level, sprinkle with a pinch of ground ginger and corriander while cooking.

2.  Lightly salt and steam or saute your shrimp. It’s ok to undercook a bit, because they’ll be baked or grilled again at the end.

Notice i’m seasoning very sparingly. We’re going to get so much flavor from the cheese(s) that to over-season now would give you a sodium-heavy final dish. Anything we use now is strictly to draw out excess water and intensify the natural flavors.

3.  Cook quinoa per instructions. Gently mix in all the goods.

L to R: Lobster, Shrimp, Bacon, Onion, Spinach

""

You could stop now if you want to and serve as a warm quinoa salad. I’d probably call you a quitter but you wouldn’t care because you’d get to eat an awesome salad like, 30 minutes sooner than me.

4a. If you’re forging ahead with me, here’s why I called it “easy cheesy”: It was 96 degrees out the day I made this. Standing over a stove to make bechamel was not an option. Instead I mixed two tablespoons of cheese spread into 1/3 –  1/2 cup of the mixture and stuffed into a portobello mushroom.

 

The Jarlesberg dip was awesome. In threw in a handful of pepperjack too and it was perfect. The flavors married well, it melted beautifully, and was definitely satisfying. I’d call this a definitative YUM.

The Rondelé was another situation. It looked pretty coming off the grill, and I think the idea of adding a cheese dip that had veg already in it was well intended, but when I put it in my mouth….ohhh, what a stumble.  That stuff just isn’t meant to be heated. It doesn’t melt so much as it just gets cranky and mealy and grainly and just, ugh, I can’t.

Grill for 10-15 minutes or into the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Finish under the broiler. Plate with a salad and garnish with lobster.

4b.  If you’re making for a lot of people or prefer a more tradtitional casserole / mac-n-cheese analog, take the time to make a proper Mornay sauce.  Mornay is a Béchamel with cheese added.  Béchamel sauce consists of exactly three ingredients: flour, butter, and milk.  Despite it being so easy, I somehow found a way to make this complicated.
An aside: In an effort to maintain the integrity of our gluten-free efforts, rather than adding all-purpose flour I attempted to make my own by putting a handful of quinoa through the blender.  Unfortunately my blender was not up to the task so really I just made a whole lot of noise and some beat-up grains. It got clumpy and I ended up putting in way more cheese than I normally would trying to thicken the sauce up.  A proper quinoa or rice flour would work nicely.

Start by making a roux: whisk the flour and butter together over medium heat until it start to brown slightly and take on a nutty aroma. Bring your milk to a boil in a separate pot (or microwave) and whisk in slowly.  Remove from heat and whisk in the cheese a handful at a time.  I used half sharp white cheddar and half pepperjack, but I really love the sweetness of havarti and the nuttiness of fontina for seafood.

5.  Mix into quinoa mixture (with a few extra cubes of cheese if you’re adventurous) and spread in a baking dish. Into the oven at 350 for  30-40 minutes.  Enjoy!

 

Advertisements