Escoffier can lay claim to inventing the original dish – a few years ago as the only British chef in a cookery competition, Nantes, Loire Valley, I won a trophy for a lighter & very English version of the French classic thermidor. Here’s the recipe…
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp chopped shallot
8 button mushrooms, finely sliced
1 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
1 tbsp chopped tarragon
50ml dry Vermouth
300ml crème fraiche
100g grated mature cheddar cheese
½ tsp Coleman’s English mustard powder
To kill & cook, place your lobster alive in the deep freeze for a couple of hours which will render Larry completely comatosed then drop him into your largest saucepan of rapidly boiling water – 15 minutes for 750g, thereafter fish him out & cool in a bucket, pan or sink of cold tap water.
To dress, lay it belly down on a chopping board, twist off the knuckles & claws, crack with a hammer. Remove meat. Split the head & body down the middle with a heavy knife. Remove all the yuck – so all you’re left with are 2 perfect, moist, meaty halves of tail meat; cut this into 2cm chunks. Reserve the shells.
Gently sweat the shallot, mushroom, parsley & tarragon with the oil in a small saucepan for a few minutes, add the vermouth, allowing the alcohol to simmer off for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, add crème fraîche, half the cheddar & Coleman’s, stirring together evenly. Fold in the lobster meat, season.
Arrange the lobster mixture in the shells, sprinkle with remaining cheese, place on a baking sheet & place in pre-heated 180°C oven for 10 minutes until hot & golden. Overdo it & its ruined & chewy.
Serve with green salad & crusty bread.