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What Is Lobster Thermidor?

Thick slice of Gruyere cheese, which is commonly used in Lobster Thermidor.
Lobster Thermidor traditionally includes cognac.
Some Lobster Thermidor recipes call for parsley.
Mushrooms are a common ingredient in lobster Thermidor.
Lobster Thermador is often topped with Parmesan cheese.
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  • Written By: Diane Goettel
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 03 April 2014
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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.

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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.

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