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Lobster img 0052 thermidor edit
Harry Weir and Brian Clarke

Lobster Thermidor

This classic recipe from the Cliff Townhouse is perfect for when you're feeling a little indulgent.

Serving: 4
Time: 1hr- 1hr 30mins
Difficulty: Advanced


  • 4 lobsters, about 600-700g each
  • 75ml white wine
  • 300ml shellfish stock
  • 50g tarragon
  • 100g shallots, chopped
  • 280ml cream
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Paprika, to garnish

For the béchamel:

  • 70g butter
  • 65g flour
  • 150ml lobster or fish stock
  • 150ml milk
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 pinch nutmeg


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Once the lobster is calm, place the lobster in the water for about seven to eight minutes or until cooked. Once cooked, remove from the water and allow to cool. Split the lobster in two down the middle with a knife. Remove the digestive tract down the back of the lobster and also remove the sac, which is located in the head behind the eyes. Remove all the meat from the body, tail and claws and chop coarsely. Wash the shells and reserve for serving.
  2. To make the béchamel, in a large saucepan melt the butter. Add the flour and continue to cook and whisk until it is blond, about three to four minutes. Add the stock and stir well to combine. Let this come to a simmer, then slowly add the milk, stirring all the time. Let this come to a simmer, adding some salt, pepper and nutmeg. Do not let this boil.
  3. In a separate pan, bring the wine and shellfish stock to the boil and allow to reduce down to about 75-100ml. Add the tarragon and shallots and continue to reduce until it is thick. Add to the béchamel sauce and stir well to combine.
  4. Mix the cream and egg yolks together, then slowly add some of the béchamel-glaze mixture to the cream, stirring all the time. When about half of the hot mixture is poured into the cream, pour this all back into the remaining béchamel-glaze and stir to combine. What you are doing here is tempering the cream-egg mixture so you don’t get scrambled eggs. Again, do not let this boil.
  5. When the sauce is thickened, add the lobster and season.
  6. Fill the empty lobster shells with this mixture and brown in an oven or under a hot grill for a few minutes until bubbling. Sprinkle a little bit of paprika over the top to serve.


You can, of course, eat the Thermidor outside of the shells in little bowls.