New Year’s Eve is a time for opulence. Few holidays, if any, excuse such lavish excess as does the turning of the calendar. If you want to celebrate in luxury, we would like to recommend that you try cooking up some lobster Thermidor. (But then of course we would, right? Lobster Thermidor would be the lobster dish of choice at ThermoWorks!)
This ultra-rich lobster dish is a great way to ring in the new year before you tighten both your belt and your purse strings. It’s warm, it’s beautiful to present, and with our temperature advice, it’s easy to get right. Let’s jump in and take a look!
What is lobster Thermidor?
The dish is named for the (now defunct) French month of Thermidor, and the events of the French revolution that happened during that month. Thermidor was so-called because it was the month of the summer’s greatest heat, a fact which ultimately, and perhaps sadly, has nothing to do with the dish that took its name.
Whatever the etymology of the dish, the fact remains that it is composed of lobster meat that is chopped, mixed with a rich sauce of wine, cheese, and other seasonings, stuffed back into its shell, and baked until browned.
It is, in its own way, the crustacean version of a twice-baked potato. Or perhaps lobster fondue on the half shell. But comparison or genre-pigeonholing isn’t necessary here. Lobster Thermidor is lobster Thermidor and needs no “this food is like” explanation!
While the dish is often made with whole lobster, it works just as well with lobster tails. We got ours from LobsterAnywhere, and decided to double the recipe, making eight halves. It was a lot of food! The dish is so rich that one tail easily feeds two people.
Lobster doneness temperature
To make the Thermidor, you need to have cooked lobster. The best way to cook the lobster tails for this dish is to steam them until they reach an internal temperature of 140°F (60°C). At this temperature, the meat is cooked, the mushifying enzymes are deactivated, but the meat has not crossed over into rubberiness.
To nail that temperature, stick a waterproof needle probe in between some of the plates of the lobster tail so that the tip of the needle is in the thickest part of the meat, close to the front of the tail. Then set the high-temp alarm on your Smoke X2™ (or other alarm thermometer) to 140°F (60°C). Heat your steamer and put the tail in. We used two needle probes because we were cooking tails of two sizes, large and jumbo. The large obviously finished first, with the jumbos coming in a couple minutes later.
Lobster is fully cooked at 140°F (60°C)
Browning the lobster Thermidor
To put the final touch on this crazy creation, it is sprinkled with parmesan cheese and browned in the oven. The shells are stuffed while the filling is still warm/hot, so there’s not through-heating that needs to be done. All we need to get a little color and toastiness on the exposed stuffing. While you could use a broiler, they often invite accidental overcooking. You can get excellent results by baking the stuffed tails in a hot 425°F (218°C) oven for about 10 minutes.
As you embark on the new year, we wish you the very best: the best food, the best company, and the best health. This dish will be a great one with which to ring in the new year, and it will be all the better for cooking it to the perfect temperature. Give it a shot and share it with those you love.
Until then, Happy cooking!Print
Lobster Thermidor Recipe
Lobster Thermidor, adapted from the recipe provided by LobsterAnywhere.
- 2 raw lobster tails, thawed
- 1/4 C minced red pepper
- 1/2 C sliced mushrooms
- 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1/4 C thinly sliced, rinsed leeks (white and light green part only)
- 2 Tbsp flour
- 1/4 C dry sherry or white wine
- 3/4 C light cream or half and half
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp tarragon
- 1 tsp fresh chopped parsley
- 1/2 C shredded gruyere cheese
- 1/4 C Parmesan cheese (ideally freshly grated)
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- Salt and pepper to taste
Steam the lobster tails
- Set up a steamer.
- Insert a waterproof needle probe into the 4th joint of the back of the lobster shell so that the tip of the probe is in the thickest part of the tail meat. Set the high-temp alarm on your Smoke X2 to 140°F (60°C).
- Steam the lobster tails until the high-temp alarm sounds. Verify that there are no temps lower than your target with your Thermapen® ONE.
- Place the tails on a plate or pan and put them in the refrigerator to cool. (The cooling will help prevent any overcooking later.)
Make the filling
- Preheat your oven to 425°F (218°C).
- Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Saute the mushrooms and pepper in the oil until browned somewhat. Set aside in a bowl.
- Melt the butter in the same pan and sautee the leeks until well wilted and somewhat browned.
- Stir the flour into the buttery leeks. Cook for about 1 minute to make a roux.
- Add the wine and let it boil, stir in the cream. Reduce heat to medium-low. Whisk the whole thing to create a thick creamy leek sauce.
- Stir in the lemon juice, tarragon, and parsley.
- Whisk in the Gruyere. Taste and adjust salt and pepper.
- Remove the thickened cheese/leek sauce from heat. Stir in the mushroom/pepper mixture. It will be very thick.
- Cut your lobster tails in half the long way using kitchen shears. Remove the meat from each shell half and chop all the meat coarsely with a good knife. Keep the shells for stuffing.
- Gently mix the lobster meat into the prepared filling mixture.
Stuff the tails and bake
- Spoon the lobster filling into the reserved shell halves. You can mound it up in the shells a bit, it shouldn’t run out.
- Sprinkle each tail half with parmesan cheese and paprika.
- Bake the tails for 10–12 minutes in the hot oven. They should be slightly browned on top
- Remove the tails from the oven and serve with crusty bread, a zesty salad, bubbly drinks, and plenty of good cheer.
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