A lighter version of an actual Lobster Thermidor, this recipe surprised me with how delicious it was even as I was cooking it. The idea is very simple. You want to make a yolk-enriched flavourful custard with mushrooms, stir the cooked lobster meat into the sauce, then scoop this stuffing back into the lobster’s tail. You then broil the tails with grated cheese on top until everything is golden and bubbly. I did this twice, once with breadcrumbs, and once with cheese, and liked both, but I’ve included instructions with cheese here. Just-cooked spaghetti is then stirred through the remaining stuffing in a pan with a bit of hot starchy pasta water till the sauce thickens to coat the spaghetti strands. Chopped herbs and a final sprinkle of red chilli flakes finish this rich, special occasion dish. It’s out-of-this-world good, and totally worth the occasional splurge on the lobsters.
Lobster Thermidor and Spaghetti
Yield 4 servings
Stirring spaghetti through remaining thermidor stuffing and serving it alongside the lobster tails turns this into the perfect special occasion meal.
Lobsters 1 kilo
Salt for salting the lobster’s water, the pasta water and 1/2 tsp, plus more to adjust the sauce right at the end
Salted butter 2 tbsp
Onion 1 medium-sized, finely chopped
Garlic 3 cloves, bashed in and chopped
Button mushrooms 200g, sliced
Red chilli flakes 1 tsp, plus more to finish
White Vermouth or white wine 2 tbsp
Egg yolks 2
Amul cream 1 cup, divided
Black pepper 1/2 tsp, freshly ground, plus more
Cheddar cheese 8 tbsp, grated for the top
Freshly chopped coriander or parsley 2 tbsp
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Once the water is boiling, add 3-4 tbsp of salt, half as much if you’re using iodised salt at home. Add the lobsters to the boiling water and cover the pot and bring everything up to a boil again. Reduce the heat to medium and let the lobsters bubble away in the pan for 9 minutes exactly.
Once the lobsters are done cooking, take them out of the pot and let them cool before cracking them open and scooping out all the meat from the lobsters. Keep the tails intact for stuffing the meat back into. Let everything cool. Discard everything else.
In a large, wide saucepan, add the salted butter and once it begins to foam, add the onions and keeping the heat down to a medium-low, let the onions cook slowly until they are really soft. Add the garlic and toss for a minute before adding the mushrooms and turning the heat up to medium. Let all the mushroom’s water evaporate and once the mushrooms start browning a bit, add 1/2 tsp of salt, 1 tsp of red chilli flakes and toss again to heat through. Next, splash in the vermouth and let it evaporate. Splash in half the cup of cream and ensure that the heat is still quite low. Stir everything together really well until the cream has heated through completely.
Whisk the yolks in a bowl. Add some of this cream mixture into the bowl of yolks whisking all the time as you do. Now add the yolk and cream mixture back into the pan and keep stirring over low heat, turning the heat up ever so slightly, stirring until the cream starts to thicken. Add the lobster meat to the custard mixture in the pan and let it cook through, trying to keep the heat just above low. You want everything to cook for 4-5 minutes. Add the remaining cream to the pan and check for salt and pepper. The mixture should be a thick custard at this stage. If it’s not, you want to cook it gently till it is thick enough. Remember that the custard will continue to thicken even after you take it off the heat.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius. Scoop the cooled custard into the washed and ready lobster tails and grate about 2 tbsp of cheese over each tail. Place on a tray directly under the heat source of the oven and let the shells with the Thermidor filling bake until golden and bubbling, about 5-6 minutes.
Cook the spaghetti as per packet instructions in lots of salted boiling water. Check for doneness— the pasta should be al dente (with a bit of bite still left in the pasta). Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the starchy pasta water. Bring any remaining stuffing mixture in the pan back to a medium-low heat. Once it looks like the stuffing has heated through, splash in the reserved pasta water, the spaghetti and turn the heat up a bit, stirring to coat the spaghetti in the remaining sauce till the sauce coats the spaghetti. Check for seasoning and finish with freshly chopped coriander or parsley and a sprinkle of red chilli flakes with the lobster tails placed on top.To serve, everyone gets a lobster tail with some creamy spag on the side.