Happy New Year!
And Happy New Blog Year as well. Time for a bit of self-congratulating and pat-myself-on-the-backing, cause the ole’ bloggy has reached its one hundredth post. This one right here that you’re soaking up with your very own eyeballs. Who knew when I started this little endeavor almost five years ago that it would go this long?
Well, I’ve enjoyed it, and am proud to have amassed a nice collection of recipes that not only form a nice reference for me but are now handy for sharing with family and friends and strangers alike. Anyhoo, before we get to that 100th post recipe, I have a little announcement to make. I’m making a change here at the blog, hopefully, a change for the better.
Here’s the change in three words. Better Food Photography. Yes, over the years I’ve poured over many a food blog and lamented that many of them had such professional looking food photography on them, while mine was pretty much hit or miss. Oh, sometimes I got lucky and got a nice shot or two, but often times my photos looked quite amateur, or even downright crappy. But I just settled for such, figuring those pro-looking shots were beyond me.
Well, no longer, sez I. Over the past few months I’ve been studying, buying new lighting equipment, learning and practicing and figuring it all out. What I discovered is that just a few simple changes and a few cheap pieces of equipment can drastically improve one’s photography. I’d always shot with a pretty high end camera, but I always just set it on automatic and shot away. Now I’m shooting in manual, with off-camera strobe lights, and the results are pretty awesome. Sure, there’s still room for improvement, and I’ll be striving for that as the months and years follow, but I’m still happy with where I’m at now—light years ahead of some of the old stuff.
I’ll be posting a page shortly with some more info on my new photography technique. Meanwhile, what follows is the first recipe to fully feature the results.
So, the 100th post recipe. What to post, what to post? Well, I decided it had to be something special. Something decadent. Something French. Enter Lobster Thermidor.
Even though I’m something of a lobster purist, and don’t feel that it really needs to be all gussied up with sauces and such, Lobster Thermidor has always fascinated me, as do all old guard French recipes that harken back to days of gastronomic glory. I just had to try to make it at least once. The results actually turned out to be pretty spectacular, but what else would one expect from those decadent French!
2 One and A Half Pound Lobsters
1/2 stick Butter
1/2 Pound Mushrooms, Sliced
1/2 Onion, Diced
1 Shallot, Diced
1/2 Cup White Wine
1/4 Cup Flour
2 Tablespoons Cognac or Brandy
1/2 Cup Milk
1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
2 Egg Yolks
1 Tablespoon Dry Mustard
1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
1 Tablespoon Chopped Fresh Tarragon
1/8 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon White Pepper
1 Cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese
To begin, prep your lobsters by steaming or boiling them. I generally boil Lobsters, as I find it easier and am happy with the results. Get a nice large pot a little over half full of water and get it to a rolling boil.
Yes, we have a dedicated lobster pot. Shouldn’t everyone?
Boil lobsters for eight to ten minutes. This will leave this just slightly undercooked, but that’s okay…they will continue to cook with residual heat and also a bit under the broiler later, and we don’t want them overcooked.
When the lobsters are finished, we need to split them in half lengthwise. Yes, lobster Thermidor is all about the fancy presentation, so we’ll be serving it in the shell. I use good sharp kitchen shears to cut the lobster,
starting at the tail and cutting along the back, then repeating with the belly, until I have two nice halves for each lobster.
Next, remove the tail and claw meat and reserve. Discard the rest of the lobster innards.
Now to make the sauce. Melt butter in saucepan.
French dishes always seem to start with butter. When the butter is melted, add the sliced mushrooms...
and cook them until they are golden brown.
Remove mushrooms and reserve. Add more butter to the pan.
Cook onions and shallots for a few minutes,
then add the garlic and cook a minute more. Add white wine and deglaze pan. Cook 1-2 Minutes. Add flour
and cook until roux forms. Add cognac or brandy
and cook 1 minute. Add the milk
and cook for 2-3 minutes. While this is going on, whisk the egg yolks together with the heavy cream. Add this mixture to the skillet
and cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat. Add mustard, tarragon, cayenne, salt, pepper and half the cheese and stir.
Chop up the lobster meat into bite-sized chunks.
At this point some recipes will tell you to add the meat and mushrooms to the sauce, but I find if you do that, you risk not evenly distributing your precious lobster meat in the shells. So, add the lobster meat by first to the shell halves,
then the mushrooms,
and then you can cover with the sauce.
Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top.
Broil for 5 minutes
or so until golden brown on top.
Serve immediately while the lobster and sauce is piping hot.
Until Next Time,