LOBSTER THERMIDOR

One of the classic French dishes, Lobster Thermidor makes a little lobster go a long way. It si best to use one big rather that two small lobsters, as a larger lobster will contain a higher proportion of flesh, and the meat will be sweeter. Ideally use a live crustacean and cook it yourself, but a boiled lobster from the fish store will do.

SERVES TWO
INGREDIENTS
  • 1 boiled lobster, about 1 kg / 2¼ lb
  • 45 ml / 3 tbsp brandy
  • 25 g / 1 oz / 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 115 g / 4 oz / 1½ cups button (white) mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 15 ml / 1 tbsp plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 105 ml / 7 tbsp fish or shellfish stock
  • 120 ml / 4 fl oz / ½ cup double (heavy) cream
  • 5 ml / 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 egg yolks, beaten
  • 45 ml / 3 tbsp dry white wine
  • 45 ml / 3 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt, ground black pepper, and cayenne pepper
  1. Split the lobster in half lengthways; crack the claws. Discard the stomach sac; keep the coral for another dish. Keeping each half-shell intact, extract the meat from the tail and claws, then cut into large dice. Place in a shallow dish, sprinkle over the brandy. Cover and set aside. Wipe and dry the half-shells and set them aside.
  2. Melt the butter in a pan and cook the shallots over a low heat until soft. Add the mushrooms and cook until just tender, stirring constantly. Stir in the flour and a pinch of cayenne; cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Gradually add the stock, stirring until the sauce boils and thickens.
  3. Stir in the cream and mustard and continue to cook until the sauce is smooth and thick. Season to taste with salt, black pepper, and cayenne. Pour half the sauce on to the egg yolks, stir well, and return the mixture to the pan. Stir in the wine; adjust the seasoning, being generous with the cayenne.
  4. Preheat the grill (broiler) to medium-high. Stir the diced lobster and the brandy into the sauce. Arrange the lobster half-shells in a grill pan and divide the mixture among them. Sprinkle with Parmesan and place under the grill until browned. Serve with steamed rice and mixed salad leaves.
Lobster Thermidor