Monday, November 5, 2012

Lobster Thermidor

Thermidor was one of the summer months  of the French Revolutionary calendar.   It is also the name of an extremely delicious lobster dish. When I was a child, I remember  my mother serving this once on Christmas Eve, when it was traditional for Catholics to eat fish. At that time I turned up my nose at it because it had sherry in it.
"It has liquor in it," I whined.
Thank God for taste  buds growing up, I say. There are few dishes more delicious than those flavored with sherry and cream. I served this for our Saturday dinner party. Probably because of the storm, it was expensive, a little more than $25 per lobster.
One thing that speeded things up was ordering the lobsters precooked from the Fishery, my local fish store. If  you live in New England, you can probably order steamed lobsters at the supermarket.  Down here in what used to be called the Middle Atlantic states, it depends. It doesn't hurt to ask if your supermarket steams lobsters, but I wouldn't count on it, myself.
Once you get the lobster meat dug out of the lobster, this is not a difficult dish to prepare.  It has only four steps and most of the verbs are "add."The cook is just pouring stuff into a pan and stirring it. But, the cook does have to pay careful attention to the heat. Keep the burner low so the lobster does not get tough, and the cream does not curdle.  Otherwise, if your budget runs to lobster, go for this. For seven people, I ordered four lobsters.  I told the fish store I wanted 1 and 1/2 pound lobsters, but, as usual, they told me "they were a little bigger."  That was plenty of lobster meat. I think three lobsters would have been skimpy. Otherwise I increased the recipe ingredients by one and a half.
The dinner party guests were most impressed. "Why are we having lobster?" one inquired. As in, "What's the occasion?" The occasion is knocking off the lobster recipes. We had a wonderful dinner, talking nonstop about books.

Lobster Thermidor

1/4 cup butter
2 cups cubed cooked lobster meat
2 tablespoons Cognac
3 tablespoons dry sherry
1 cup heavy cream, scalded
3 egg yolks beaten
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1. Melt the butter, add the lobster meat and cook three minutes. Shake the pan or stir while cooking.
2. Add the cognac and sherry.
3. Pour the cream over the egg yolks and add to lobster mixture. Reheat, stirring until mixture thickens, but do not allow to boil.
4. Season with salt, pepper and cayenne. Makes two servings.

No comments:

Post a Comment