Lobster thermidor

SERVES 2

Rick says "Fifteen years ago the idea of putting precious lobster with a white wine sauce and sprinkling it with cheese would have been anathema to me, on the grounds that it smothered the taste. Now, influenced by my wife Sarah’s addiction to it, I’ve quite changed my mind."

Alternative: make a seafood thermidor by grilling whatever mixed seafood you like – scallops, prawns, crab – in a gratin dish, sprinkled with Parmesan, until brown.

INGREDIENTS

1 x 750g cooked lobster
25g butter
2 large shallots, finely chopped
600ml Fish stock
50ml Noilly Prat
75ml double cream
½ tsp English mustard
1 tsp chopped fines herbes (chervil, chives, parsley and tarragon)
1 tsp lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
15g finely grated Parmesan cheese

Fish Stock
1kg fish bones, such as lemon sole, brill and plaice
1 onion, chopped
1 fennel bulb, chopped
100g celery, sliced
100g carrot, chopped
25g button mushrooms, sliced
1 sprig of thyme
2.5 litres water

METHOD

Fish Stock
Put all the ingredients into a large pan and simmer very gently for 30 minutes. Strain through a muslin-lined fine sieve, and use as required. If not using immediately, leave to cool, then chill and refrigerate or freeze.

Lobster Thermidor
Remove the meat and any roe from the lobster. Scoop out the head matter and set aside for the sauce. Cut the meat into small chunky pieces and return to the cleaned half-shells with any roe. Cover and set aside.
For the sauce, melt the butter in a small pan. Add the shallots and cook gently for 3–4 minutes until soft but not browned. Add the fish stock, Noilly Prat and half the double cream and boil until reduced by three-quarters to about 175ml. Add the rest of the cream and simmer until it has reduced to a good coating-sauce consistency. Whisk in the reserved head matter, the mustard, fines herbes and lemon juice. Season to taste.
Preheat the grill to high. Carefully spoon the sauce over the lobster meat and sprinkle lightly with Parmesan cheese. Grill for 2–3 minutes until golden and bubbling.

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