Have you every had one of those really wish I had gone another way moments? Lobster Thermidor is one of those moments for me. Let me explain . . .
The first time Hubby and I flew to Tahiti, we took Air France out of LAX. For those who have flown First Class on an American Flight, our first class is like flying business class on an international flight. And their first class is like a Five-Star Hotel. Hubby and I were flying Business Class, and that was fine by me. Anyway, the Steward came around to take our order for dinner. He began by speaking with the woman seated next to me. They had a lovely chat in French, and she placed her order. He then turned to Hubby and I, pen to paper, ready to hear our selection. So in my All-American accent, I asked “Can you repeat that in English please.” Our steward looked bothered, rolled his eyes and said bluntly “Beef or Fish.”
Hum, air plane beef or fish . . . The coward that I am, I went with Beef while Hubby, feeling rather adventurous, went with fish. Let me tell you, there is a huge difference between “fish” and Lobster Thermidor! And for the record, the “Beef” was a lovely Beef Wellington complete with a layer of pâté and wild mushrooms. While the Wellington was delicious, I could not help but envy Hubby with his Lobster Thermidor.
This recipe comes from a Pillsbury Cookbook. Yeah, I know not exactly Julia Child, but then I was going for simple. I did make a few minor changes. I switched the dry Sherry for Cognac, decreased the Parmesan Cheese by half while adding Gruyère Cheese to the mix.
Just for the record, you will notice that whenever I give you a lobster recipe, it is always with tails that have been frozen. I love lobster. However; I cannot and will not kill any crustaceans just to have fresh meat. Just as I love venison and elk but could never shoot one.
2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
4 (6 to 8 oz) frozen Lobster Tails
1 cup Half-and-Half
3 tablespoons Butter
3 tablespoons Flour
2 tablespoons Cognac
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Kosher Salt to taste
2 drops Hot Pepper sauce
1/3 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
1/3 cup grated Gruyère Cheese
1 Egg Yolk
Heat oven to 375 degrees. In Dutch oven, bring 4 quarts water and 2 teaspoons salt to a boil. Add lobster tails; return to a boil. Cook 8 to 10 minutes or until lobster turns red and meat is slightly opaque.
Note: the lobster meat will only be partially cooked at this point. The meat will finish cooking in the oven.
While the tails boil, prepare an ice bath and set aside. As soon as tails begin to change color, immediately plunge the lobster into cold water to stop cooking.
With kitchens scissors, cut and remove membrane on under side of lobster tails. Remove meat. Cut meat into 1-inch pieces; place in bowl and set aside. Bend the tail shells backwards slightly to flatten; wedge into a small casserole dish so that tails hold their shape. Set aside.
In a small saucepan, heat the Half-and-Half. Keep warm until ready to use.
Melt butter in medium nonstick saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in flour with wire whisk; cook and stir 1 to 2 minutes or until smooth and bubbly. Let the roux continue to cook a minute or 2 longer, just until it begins to turn golden in color. Gradually add warm half-and-half, cooking and stirring 2 to 3 minutes or until mixture boils and thickens. Remove from heat. Stir the cognac, mustard, salt and hot pepper sauce.
Mix together the Parmesan and Gruyère cheeses. Reserve 4 tablespoons of the cheese mixture for topping. Add the remaining cheese along with the egg yolk to hot cream mixture; mix well. Stir half of sauce into lobster meat in bowl. Spoon mixture into lobster meat into the shells. Top each with remaining sauce. Sprinkle each tail with reserved cheese.
Bake in the heated oven for 15 minutes or until edges are bubbly. Switch to Broil. Continue to cook lobster for 2 to 3 minutes or until cheese is golden brown.