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Lobster Thermidor

One of the ultimate all time classic recipes, There's a great skill involved in cooking this recipe correctly, I've seen Lobster Thermidor cooked absolutely terribly!! No love, No pride, No respect for Ingredients. Thick gloopy bechamel sauce, ladled over the poor over cooked lobster, smothered in cheese and chucked under a grill, to be cooked to within an inch of it's dear life!!!

This is a wonderful dinner party dish, Lobster is expensive, treat it with love and care, and i promise you'll find this recipe delicious.

This recipe, in my opinion, is about the sauce, or, bisque, that is made to maximize flavour into the finished Thermidor sauce.

Of course, the freshness, and the cooking of the lobster goes without question, Generally, as a rule i only buy lobsters to arrive on the day that i need them, live obviously, and usually best between June to September. Just a thought........... For all of you young catering students out there, invest in a copy of Le Repertoire de la Cuisine, keep it close to hand, open it, read it, learn from it, remember it, reread it, keep it as a guidance and reference, Classics are just that, Classics, styles of techniques we may lose forever, but should be an integral part of a chefs education This recipe will serve 4 people

SHOPPING LIST 4 Whole cooked lobsters

For the Mornay sauce 250ml of whole milk 1 small onion, peeled and cut into quarters 2 bay leaves 4 cloves 40g of butter 40g of plain flour 150g of mature cheddar cheese 2 teaspoons of English mustard 2 egg yolks 100ml of soft whipped whipping cream seasoning For the lobster bisque 100g of butter The lobster shells from the claws and knuckles 300ml of brandy 2 carrots peeled and chopped 2 bulbs of fennel chopped 2 small onions peeled and chopped A tablespoon of tomato puree 100ml of dry white wine 30g of plain flour 1 ltr of good quality chicken stock 4 crushed garlic cloves 4 star anise 2 crushed lemon grass stalks A small bunch of tarragon METHOD Firstly we need to make the Mornay sauce In a small saucepan, put the milk, onion, bay leaves and cloves, bring to a slow boil, simmer for 5 minutes. In a separate pan, melt the butter on a medium heat, then stir in the flour, stir with a wooden spoon until you have a nice smooth paste. Pass the milk mixture through a sieve and discard the onion, bay leaves and cloves Add the milk to the paste and whisk to remove any lumps, continue to cook on a medium heat for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the cheese, mustard and season to taste. Stir in the egg yolks, cover, and set to one side. Now prepare the lobsters Carefully cut each lobster in half Remove the legs Remove the knuckles and claws Carefully lift out the tail meat and cut each into 4 pieces Crack the claws and remove the meat, and do the same with the knuckles Place the meat onto a plate and keep refridgerated To make the bisque Add 50g of butter to a large pan Place on a high heat and add the claw and knuckle shells Cook until they caramelize slightly Add half of the brandy, make sure you flame to burn off the alcohol, and reduce by half Add the remaining butter and brandy, reduce the heat and add the carrot, onion and fennel Cook for 5 minutes Stir in the tomato puree Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes Now stir in the flour and add the stock Add in the garlic, lemon grass and star anise, bring to a slow simmer, DO NOT BOIL, occasionally skim off any skum from the surface, simmer for 40 minutes Remove from the heat and add the tarragon Leave to stand for 10 minutes, now strain the bisque, return the bisque liquid to the heat and reduce by half and allow to cool Pre heat the oven to 190c In a bowl add 100g of the mornay sauce and fold in gently the whipped cream, now carefully add 100ml of lobster bisque and 2 finely chopped tarragon sprigs Place the empty lobster shells onto a baking sheet, carefully place the cut lobster tails back into the shells, red side up, and fill the head sections with the claw and knuckle meat Brush lightly with a little melted butter Cover the lobster in a piece of tin foil and place in the oven for 4 minutes Remove from the oven Remove the foil from the lobster HEADS only Spoon over the Lobster Mornay sauce Pre heat the grill Brown under the grill Remove from the grill and discard the foil Serve immediately with a dressed salad and potatoes of your choice

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