Lobster Thermidor
Fresh tender lobster in a cream sauce is baked in lobster shells and topped with gruyere cheese in this stunning French dish.
Cook Time
1 hour,15 minutes
Cook Time
1 hour,15 minutes
  • 1/2 yellow onion, cut into 2 pieces
  • 1stalk celery
  • 2cloves garlic
  • 2(1 1/2 – 2 pound) live lobsters
  • 1/2cup white wine
  • 3tablespoons cognac
  • 2tablespoons butter
  • 1medium shallot, chopped
  • 6ounces mushrooms, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 1teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2teaspoon paprika
  • 1cup heavy cream
  • 1cup shredded gruyere cheese, divided
  • optional garnish: fresh parsley, fresh thyme, or paprika
  • lemon wedges for serving
  1. Add 8 cups water to a very large stockpot. Add onion pieces, celery, and garlic. Bring to a boil over high heat. Add lobsters and cover. Adjust heat as needed to prevent water from boiling over. Cook for 11 minutes. Remove lobsters from pot to cool, but save 1 ½ cups of the cooking liquid.
  2. Pour 1 ½ cups of cooking liquid through a fine mesh strainer into a saucepan. Add wine and cognac. Bring to a boil and boil until reduced to ¾ cup, about 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, once lobsters are cool enough to handle, prepare lobster meat. First, break off the claws at the knuckle. Remove the meat from the claws and knuckles. The claw shells are not used as part of the presentation, so don’t worry about breaking those. Next, cut each lobster in half length-wise. Start at the thick end of the tail and cut down to the thinner end of the tail. Then cut from the head down the body. Remove innards and discard. Remove meat. Clean out the shells as best you can, no need to be perfect, then rinse the shells under cold water and dry with paper towels. Set aside. Chop all lobster meat into chunks.
  4. Preheat broiler to high. Arrange lobster shells on a baking dish.
  5. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add shallot and mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms release their juices, about 6 minutes. Add lobster meat, thyme, and paprika. Cook a few more minutes, until mixture is heated through.
  6. Meanwhile, for the reduced lobster stock and wine, turn heat down to medium. Add heavy cream and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add ½ cup shredded gruyere cheese and stir until cheese is melted and sauce is smooth.
  7. Pour the cream sauce into the pan with the lobster meat and stir to combine. Spoon the lobster mixture into the shells. Sprinkle remaining ½ cup cheese over the top. Broil until cheese is browned and bubbly, 3-5 minutes, watching closely.
  8. Serve immediately. Good options for garnish are fresh parsley, fresh thyme, and paprika. Serve with lemon wedges.

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