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What is Lobster Thermidor?

Diane Goettel
Updated May 16, 2024
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Lobster Thermidor is a rich lobster dish in which pieces of lobster meat are prepared with a sauce that includes heavy cream, egg yolks, butter, mustard, pepper, and herbs. The mixture also usually includes either cognac or brandy. Before the dish is served, the mixture of lobster meat and sauce is usually stuffed into a split, hollowed lobster shell. The stuffed shells may be topped with cheese and browned in the oven before the dish is served. A French dish, Lobster Thermidor is often compared with Lobster Newberg.

This seafood dish not only requires a great deal of time to cook, but also calls for a number of expensive ingredients. For these reasons, Lobster Thermidor is usually served as part of a special occasion. Despite the many variations that exist in present cookbooks, it is believed that the authentic Lobster Thermidor was invented in Paris in the 1890s. It is believed that the dish was created by a chef who worked at a restaurant known as Marie's.

There are a variety of vegetables and herbs that are called for in the sauce that is used in Lobster Thermidor. Recipes for the dish vary quite a bit when it comes to these ingredients. Some of the most common vegetables used in Lobster Thermidor sauce include carrots, celery, shallots, mushrooms, and onions. The recipes may also call for parsley, bay leaves, or tarragon. Lobster Thermidor recipes may also call for ingredients that offer a bit of acidity to the sauce. The ingredients that are most commonly used for this purpose are white wine and lemon juice.

Just as there is variation in the herbs and vegetables used in Lobster Thermidor, there is also variation in the spices. Mustard and white pepper are two spices, however, that appear in almost every recipe for the seafood dish. Other spices that are sometimes used in the dish include cayenne pepper, nutmeg, or black pepper.

There are also variations in the cheeses that are used in Lobster Thermidor recipes. Some chefs believe that a key ingredient for the dish is gruyere, while others rely on Parmesan or Swiss to top their versions of Lobster Thermidor. Furthermore, some chefs incorporate cheese into the sauce, while others only use it when topping the dish. In some especially rich versions of the dish, cheese is used in the sauce as well as in a topping.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Diane Goettel
By Diane Goettel
"Diane Goettel has a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MA in English from Brooklyn College. Diane lives in Mount Vernon, New York with her husband, Noah. They are the proud parents of a Doberman Pinscher named Spoon. Specialties: book editing, book marketing, book publishing, freelance writing, magazine publishing, magazine writing, copywriting,"
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Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel
"Diane Goettel has a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MA in English from Brooklyn College. Diane lives in Mount...
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