Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Lobster Thermidor – Not Your Parents’ Thermidor

I don’t remember that much about the lobster thermidor I ate in culinary school in the early eighties, other than not really being able to taste any lobster. Instead of the nice, light sauce I used here, the meat was hidden in a thick, eggy, cheese sludge, which looked great broiled to a bubbly, golden-brown, but wasn’t the best method if you actually wanted to know you were eating lobster.

Lobster is sort of sweet, and rich tasting to begin with, so covering it in a super heavy sauce never made much sense, which is why I like this approach so much more. Our sauce is just heavy enough to coat the chunks of meat, without hiding it, and while we’re not adding handfuls of cheese, or a bunch of egg yolks, we’re still going to enjoy a fairly decadent dish.

Not only is this great for a fancy dinner party because it looks and tastes great, but you can also do all the prep ahead of time, and then just pop them in the oven when you’re ready for service. If you go that route, they’re going to be much colder, so you’ll probably need to give them a few extra minutes in the oven. Remember, everything is already cooked, so just roast until the meat is heated through.

The classic version is made with a whole, split lobster, which admittedly tastes better, but is a hundred times messier, and harder to do, not to mention probably more expensive. Frozen lobster tails can be surprising affordable, and there isn’t any waste. Either way, I really hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 2 large or 4 appetizer size portions:
4 lobster tails (about 4 oz each about)
3 tablespoons butter, divided
2 tablespoons minced shallots
salt to taste
1 1/2 cup diced mushrooms
1 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoons cognac or brandy
1/2 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons crème fraiche or heavy cream
1 generous tablespoon minced fresh tarragon
cayenne to taste
2 teaspoon dry breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 teaspoons melted butter for the top


Unknown said...

But can you microwave it like Lego Batman?

KBO said...

G'day Chef John,
That is a brilliant version of a an old classic. This one I learned at The Hotel Australia during my apprenticeship in the 60s. And you're right, it was wildly more complex. I also agree with you in that a traditional Thermador almost made the Rock Lobster flavour disappear, perhaps if not for the fact that it was on the menu every night so we kept huge amounts of Lobster stock to use in the sauce. It was the only thing that saved it from being unrecognizable as a lobster dish.
Crayfish season is now open down here so I'll be trying your recipe real soon.
(I use the whole shell, halved, and include the head meat, leg meat and 'head fluid' in the sauce.)
It's a filling and almost heavenly main course, that you folks call an 'entree'... why is that?
Anyway, thanks again and have a Great Christmas!
Bill Halliwell
Hobart, Tasmania

dragonmanmark said...

My food wish would be to get the directions along with the ingredients. I love watching your videos but watching them while cooking is impracticable and memorizing the directions is not possible either.


Unknown said...

How timely. I spend a few hours last night searching for a Lobster Thermador recipe and woke up to this which looks like just what I was looking for. Christmas dinner plan is now complete! Thank you.

S/V Blondie-Dog said...

Greetings Chef! I'll has ya' done knows dat' this here lobster dish do look delicious enough to make one's toes curl up tight if ya' knows what I means. Nevertheless my finicky-ladyfriend claims that lobster is but a chromosome or two away from being a cucaracha and hence won't eat it. Ya' suppose I should consider getting me a new gurlfriend? Thanks! You're da' best!

Unknown said...

Ok, I don't know why, but I thought you covered this a LONG time ago. Now, can you do a Lobster Roll Recipe? Or is that the one you already did? Tango Yankee!

Unknown said...

How do you submit a Food Wish to Chef John?

Anonymous said...

This looks delicious and easy recipes. Thank you so much for sharing.

Dennis Khaye said...

So very timely, thank you Chef John. The wife and I are thinking new year's eve with champagne. Excellent video as always my friend.

Bitterling said...

I have never used frozen lobster so I was wondering what is your recommended thaw time/technique or do you just start cooking them without thawing? Thanks. Plan on doing with for New Years Eve.

Unknown said...

Looks like a great recipe....I will attempt it today. Question.... Can part of this be made in advance (like in the morning) then chilled till served?

Paul said...

I prepared this recipe for holiday guests to rave reviews. For such an elegant dish it is surprisingly easy to prep. Chef John you made me look like the commodore of my lobster thermido. Happy Holidays.

Unknown said...

HI Chef,

How do I scale this recipe for for 40 appetizer size lobster tails? Do I just times 10 everything? Or do I do them in batches of 4?
Kind Regards
Clarence Baatjies

Unknown said...

Made this dish for Christmas dinner. Turned out really tasty. Thanks chef John!

Unknown said...

Thanks chef John...I did make a few hours ahead of time.... And everyone went crazy for this simple and delicious recipe.

James said...

Considering I was again roped in to cooking Christmas Dinner for the family, I immediately went to FoodWishes for inspiration.

Baked Brie en Cruite appetizer; no problem; I had Craisins but only pecans, turned out fabulously.

I remembered that I had two HUGE (16 Oz.) Lobster Tails in the Freezer (a gift from someone in the food industry) so I thought I could make your Lobster Thermidor recipe. Doubled the ingredients and prepared as per your video (I actually woke up my wife so she could experience the flaming of the mushrooms). The result of all my work was that hardly anyone wanted to try the Lobster. The presentation and taste was amazing; however, the color through them off. The finished product (even with the bread crumbs, cheese and butter) was somewhere between brown and grey.

Two HUGE tail shells filled to the brim and I now have 1 left (after 10 people left the table).

The taste is unbeatable, but something in the presentation was lacking.

S/V Blondie-Dog said...

Greetings again Chef! I 'fess up! I done lied about my finicky lady-friend not wanting to eat this here fine lobster dish! I done cooked it up for New Year's eve and we both done scarfed up these delectable critters. And cooking up these tails couldn't have been any easier. Yippers! I now be a bonafide wanna-be chef! Thanks! You're 'da best!

Jeffrey said...

4oz lobster tails? Does that represent the weigh including the shell, or just the meat inside it?

From the video, it is hard to imagine those tails only weighed 4oz each...