Friday, December 30, 2011

New Year's Eve...Lobster Thermidor

Pin It

Mother and I have been dreaming of lobster sice she arrived ten days ago. There is a wonderful recipe in Gourmet magazine circa the 1970's for a lobster in Pernod sauce that we both adore but somehow I have lost my recipe and hers is back in Miami, buried heaven knows where. As an alternative, we have decided to cook another old favorite for New Year's Eve, Lobster Thermidor...the long version. It will be served with a simple green salad and our favorite Veuve Cliquot Champagne. Nothing but a chocolate mousse for dessert will do on this ocassion!

So many steps are involved in the preparation of a really splendid lobster Thermidor, no wonder it costs a fortune in any restaurant.  For the recipe to be authentic, it must include mustard, preferrably powdered, Cognac,  and cheese at the end.  I have found no better recipe than the following one from Julia Child.

Lobster Thermidor is not a particularly difficult dish to execute,  though it is a bit time consumming but well worth the effort.  One major advantage is everything may be prepared in advance and heated up just before serving.

In this recipe the meat is stirred in hot butter before it is sauced, thus turning a rosy red. Buy lobsters weighing a good 2 pounds each, so the shells will be large enough to hold the filling.

I want to take this opportunity to thank you for visiting my blog and to extend to all of you my warmest wishes for a happy and healthy New Year!

Lobster Thermidor
Servings: Serves 6
  • Covered, enameled or stainless steel kettle with tight-fitting cover or stainless steel saucepan
  • enameled or 4-cup stainless steel saucepan
  • 1/2-quart enameled
  • Wooden spoon
  • Wire whip
  • 3-quart mixing bowl
  • 12-inch enameled or stainless steel skillet
  • Shallow roasting pan or fireproof serving platter
  • 3 cups dry white wine or 2 cups dry white vermouth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 large onion , thinly sliced
  • 1 medium carrot , thinly sliced
  • 1 stalk celery , thinly sliced
  • 6 sprigs parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp. thyme
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh or dried tarragon
  • 3 live lobsters , 2 pounds each
  • 1/2 pound sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 5 Tbsp. butter
  • 6 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 Tbsp. cream
  • 1 Tbsp. dry mustard
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 4 to 6 Tbsp. more whipping cream
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 4 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/3 cup cognac
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Swiss cheese ( I use Gruyere, trust me)
  • 2 Tbsp. butter , cut into bits
Steaming the lobsters: Simmer wine, water, vegetables, herbs, and seasonings in the kettle for 15 minutes. Then bring to a rollingboil and add the live lobsters. Cover and boil for about 20 minutes. The lobsters are done when they are bright red and the long head-feelers can be pulled from the sockets fairly easily.
While the lobsters are steaming, stew the mushrooms slowly in the covered saucepan with the butter, lemon juice, and salt for 10 minutes.

The sauce: When the lobsters are done, remove them from the kettle. Pour the mushroom cooking juices into the lobster steaming juices in the kettle and boil down rapidly until liquid has reduced to about 2 1/4 cups. Strain into the 4-cup enameled or stainless steel saucepan and bring to the simmer.

Cook the butter and flour slowly together in the 1 1/2-quart saucepan for 2 minutes without browning. Off heat, beat in the simmering lobster-cooking liquid. Boil, stirring, for 1 minute. Set aside. Film top of sauce with the cream.

Split the lobsters in half lengthwise, keeping the shell halves intact. Discard sand sacks in the heads, and the intestinal tubes. Rub lobster coral and green matter through a fine sieve into the mixing bowl, and blend into it the mustard, egg yolks, cream, and pepper. Beat the sauce into this mixture by driblets.

Return the sauce to the pan, and stirring with a wooden spoon, bring it to the boil and boil slowly for 2 minutes. Thin out with tablespoons of cream. Sauce should be thick enough to coat a spoon fairly heavily. Taste carefully for seasoning. Set aside, top filmed with a spoonful of cream.

Sautéing the lobster meat: Remove the meat from the lobster tails and claws, and cut it into 3/8-inch cubes. Set the skillet with the butter over moderate heat. When the butter foam begins to subside, stir in the lobster meat and sauté, stirring slowly, for about 5 minutes until the meat has turned a rosy color. Pour in the cognac and boil for a minute or two, shaking the skillet, until the liquid has reduced by half.

Final assembly: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Fold the cooked mushrooms and two thirds of the sauce into the skillet with the lobster meat. Arrange the split lobster shells in the roasting pan. Heap the lobster mixture into the shells; cover with the remaining sauce. Sprinkle with cheese and dot with butter. The recipe may be prepared ahead up to this point and refrigerated.

Place in upper third of 425-degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until lobster is bubbling and the top of the sauce is nicely browned. Serve immediately on a platter or serving plates.

From Mastering The Art Of French Cooking by Julia Child
Table setting Carolyn Roehm
Photo Dorling Kindersley


  1. Oh yum! I haven't eaten this for positively years! What a great thought. I think this just may be the perfect menu for New Year's day lunch, too, when we are having friends over for a swim. With a chilled glass of sparkling, it sounds quite perfect. Do enjoy your NYE! Virginia x

  2. I don't think I have ever had Lobster Thermador but it must be the tastiest - and easiest - way to eat lobster! Best wishes!

  3. That sounds like a good plan! Can't think of a better meal than lobster and champagne!

    Happy New Year!

  4. I can't imagine a more festive New Year's dish than this--it looks delicious.

    Happy New Year to you too, and thanks for all the recipes, and especially for your stories, throughout the year.
    --Road to Parnassus

  5. Sounds delightful. Hope the sous chef is up bright and early tomorrow with apron on and stirring spoons at the ready.

    To you and yours, have a happy new year's celebration and an especially happy new year in your new home.

    When you settle in for PJs and movies, I recommend Easy Virtue if you have not seen it. It's jazzy!

  6. Home, Parnassus, Martha, Glamour, Classicist, thank you dearest friends and a happy one to all of you!


  7. Once again, just a beautiful table. And I admire your courage and will power to make this dish. I'm opting out for foie gras, duck confit and champagne.

    Happiest to you and yours!

  8. Dear Joseph,

    When your "date" for the evening is your 87 yr old Madame Mere, you have all the time in the world!

    I have to say, your options are not too shabby either... BTW loved the caviar site you suggestd. Maybe next year...

    Have a good one!

  9. The perfect dish for New Year's Eve...sounds delicious!!

  10. To eat such a meal in your company would be beyond divine. I have great respect for you for the patience and fortitude to make such a recipe. We toasted you on Christmas when we ate your versions of standing rib roast and yorkshire pudding. You would have been amused to see the two of us, with tears of joy in our eyes, at the pleasure of consuming such dishes!

  11. design

    thank you.


    ahhhh...thank you, darling!

  12. Linda,
    This looks FAB!!!! Cannot wait to try~ Left a message on your country blog on the lake regarding your broccoli gratin~ can't you see the two of these together for a dynamite, out of this world, dinner?? It is such therapy to cook with your Mom,..........they always bring out the best in us!!!!


Thank you for visiting Lindaraxa. Your comments are much appreciated.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Pin It button on image hover