Lobster Thermidor

Lobster Thermidor. Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images
  • Total: 50 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Servings: 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
1001 Calories
81g Fat
30g Carbs
33g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 1001
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 81g 104%
Saturated Fat 29g 144%
Cholesterol 434mg 145%
Sodium 5598mg 243%
Total Carbohydrate 30g 11%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Protein 33g
Calcium 409mg 31%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Lobster thermidor is a classic recipe that is always a showstopper on any special occasion. While it does have a few steps, none of them are especially hard or require advanced cooking techniques. Our recipe has broken them down so it's easy enough for any cook to follow.

Use a New England or spiny lobster and get fresh tarragon if possible, as its aroma and flavor are beautiful when fresh. The pine of the herb together with the sherry makes a huge impact on the final flavor.

If you've never cooked a lobster, remember that with this shellfish, less is more. So try to stick to recipes or use very few ingredients, as too many things at the same time only mask the wonderful and mild flavor of its meat. Keep in mind to serve 1 or 1 1/2 pounds of lobster per person, as the final yield will bring about 4 to 8 ounces of meat per person.

Ingredients

  • For the Lobster:
  • 2 lobsters
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • For the Béchamel Sauce:
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup lobster stock
  • 1 cup milk
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • For the Thermidor:
  • 2/3 cup white wine
  • 3 tablespoons sherry (dry)
  • 1 cup stock
  • 2 to 3 shallots (finely chopped)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons tarragon (fresh, chopped)
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Garnish: sweet or hot paprika

Steps to Make It

Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, this lobster dish is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and cooking.

Prepare the Lobster

  1. Gather the ingredients. Preheat oven to 400 F.

  2. With a sharp chef's knife, split each live lobster in half lengthwise, starting with the head and working the knife back toward the tail. When you begin at the head end, the process kills the lobster instantly.

  3. Brush the lobster with olive oil and bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.

  4. Remove the lobster from the oven and let it cool.

Make the Béchamel Sauce

  1. In a small skillet or saucepan, make a roux by melting the butter and adding the flour, one spoonful at a time. Mix vigorously until all of the flour is in the saucepan.

  2. Continue cooking and stirring until the roux is blonde or caramel in color, about 3 to 4 minutes.

  3. Add 1/2 cup of the stock and stir well to combine.

  4. Let the mixture come to a simmer, then slowly add the milk, stirring continuously.

  5. After the mixture has simmered again, add some salt and pepper to taste and then the nutmeg. Be mindful of not letting the béchamel boil. Remove from heat and set aside.

Make the Lobster Thermidor

  1. With the help of a fork, remove all of the meat from all parts of the cooled lobster. Reserve the empty lobster shells for the dish.

  2. Chop the lobster meat coarsely.

  3. In a small frying pan, add the wine, sherry, 1 cup of lobster stock, shallots, and tarragon. Boil it down until it is thick in consistency, almost like a glaze.

  4. Add the béchamel sauce to the glaze, and stir well to combine.

  5. In a separate bowl, mix the heavy cream with the egg yolks.

  6. Slowly add some of the béchamel-glaze mixture into the egg yolk and cream, stirring constantly.

  7. When you get about 1/2 cup of the hot mixture into the bowl with the egg cream, pour it all back into the pan with the rest of the béchamel-glaze mixture. By tempering the cream-egg mixture, you won't get scrambled eggs in your sauce.

  8. Bring the sauce to a simmer but don't let boil. Add the dry mustard and some salt to taste.

  9. Cook until the sauce is thickened, then remove from heat.

  10. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Add the lobster meat to the sauce and mix well.

  11. Fill the empty lobster shells with the lobster thermidor mixture and bake for 5 to 8 minutes in the preheated oven.

  12. Sprinkle the top with a little paprika as a garnish. Serve and enjoy!

Raw Egg Warning

Consuming raw and lightly-cooked eggs poses a risk of food-borne illness.

Tip

  • If you prefer, eat the thermidor outside of the shells on its own with crusty bread or over egg noodles.
  • Use fish or chicken stock as a substitute for lobster stock.