Lobster Thermidor is a rich dish that is said to have been named by Napoleon after the month in which he first tasted it. Thermidor was the 11th month of the Republican calendar used briefly after the French Revolution. It consists of lobster tail meat that has been cooked and removed from the shell and tossed with a bechamel sauce, then topped with Parmesan cheese and browned in a broiler.
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Preparation Time: 1 hourServings: 4
To steep the lobsters:
2 1 1/2 to 2 pound lobsters
1/2 cup white vinegar per 8 quarts of water
enough water to completely cover lobsters
- Place lobsters in a stockpot or other heat-proof container with a lid.
- Bring water and vinegar to a rolling boil and then pour over lobsters and cover.
- Let steep for 2 minutes for 1 1/2 pound lobsters and 3 minutes for 2 pound lobsters.
- Remove from the pot with tongs, twist off claws with knuckles attached and return claws to pot for 5 minutes.
- Twist off the tails from the body and pull off the flippers from the end of the tail.
- Push the meat out through the large end of the tail. Remove the vein from the center of the tail.
- After 5 minutes, remove the claws from the pot and crack open with the back of a knife. Use only enough force to crack the claw and loosen the meat.
- Remove the meat from the knuckles. Reserve the tail shells and cut out the thin underside of them with scissors.
Bechamel Sauce: (Yields 1 quart)
1 yellow onion, small dice
1 small carrot, peeled and small dice
1 celery rib, small dice
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups scalded milk
Small bouquet garni
freshly ground white pepper
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of cayenne
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
1/2 cup grated parmesan
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Melt butter in a saucepan and saute onion, carrot and celery until translucent.
- Add flour and stir well until flour is completely incorporated.
- Add milk 1/3 at a time, whisking well at each addition.
- Add bouquet garni and dry seasonings, simmer for 15 minutes.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together egg yolks and cream.
- Take sauce off of the heat and whisk in cream and yolk combination.
- Rough chop the lobster meat, place in a mixing bowl and toss with half of the hot bechamel.
- Place lobster tail shells on a baking sheet or in a casserole dish, spoon mixture into shells and top with remaining bechamel and grated parmesan.
- Bake in oven at 425 for 12 minutes or until parmesan is golden brown.
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