This year, rather than an elaborate Valentine dinner, I focused on hors d’oeuvres I could enjoy with my hubby later in the evening. 🙂 I made lobster Newburg canapés and lobster thermidor tartlets, two classic lobster dishes converted into small bites. I have to say, both went quite nicely with a glass of wine by the fire!
I’ll start with the canapés. I love that the topping can be made ahead and reheated in a warm pan, and the lobster can totally be substituted for shrimp for a more modest dish. I made a couple batches with shrimp as I was testing the recipe this month, and my taste tester (AKA, my hubby) loved it! The lobster was perfect for our special Valentine’s Day celebration, though. I think this is a recipe I will go back to again and again. It is fancy enough for a special occasion, but simple enough to make on a weeknight.
Lobster Newburg Canapés
Sliced artisan bread, cut into approximately 1 1/2-inch rounds with a cookie cutter
Extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 small raw lobster tails, split in half lengthwise and deveined
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon dry sherry
1 tablespoon brandy
1 cup skim milk
Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Ground white pepper to taste
Salt to taste
Preheat broiler. Cover a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Brush the tops of the bread with a little olive oil. Arrange the bread with the oil side facing up on the prepared sheet pan. Broil for a minute or two until the bread is golden on top. Watch them closely, because they can burn very quickly. Set aside.
In a medium sauté pan, heat the butter over medium heat until melted. Add the lobster tails, including the shells, and cook until the shells are red. They do not need to be completely cooked through at this point. Set aside to cool.
Continuing to cook over medium heat, sprinkle the flour in the pan, and whisk to combine with the remaining butter. Cook until the roux is golden brown. While whisking, add the sherry, brandy, and milk. Continue to whisk until the mixture is thickened. Add the nutmeg, cayenne, and white pepper, and whisk until well combined.
Strain the mixture for any lumps. Return the sauce to the pan off the heat.
Take the lobster meat out of the shells, and cut into a small dice.
Add the lobster meat back to the pan with the sauce. Mix until the lobster is well coated. Over low heat, cook until the meat is just cooked through. Season with salt if needed.
Spoon a small amount of the lobster mixture onto the toast rounds. Serve immediately.