What a result – two big, fat, frozen lobsters from Canada in the supermarket for £10; how can you walk past a bargain like that?
Let’s get this straight, I don’t normally buy lobster unless it’s a very special occasion; they’re massively expensive and while the cooler waters around the UK, Ireland and France deliver the tastiest in the world, they are often small. Before I decide what to do with them I need to consider my options – which country do I look to for inspiration? France – thermidor? Spain – stew? Italy – ravioli? Japan – with Jamie’s tempura?
My brother’s Spanish father-in-law cooked lobster for 10 once. Eight live king of crustacean went into a stock pot with Iberian flavourings – mainly paprika and tomatoes – and were boiled until all the flesh fell out of the shells, which had gone floppy, and disappeared into nothingness leaving the sweet nuttiness of the shellfish as the only reminder. It was great, but if I was going to spend over £100 on shellfish, I want the meat to be the star. Even though I’d only spent a tenner it still mattered!
So I went for France and the synonymous thermidor – I would have done the tempura but the fryer’s off limits at the moment! What did I have in the cupboard to help me create this French classic? Remember, this is not a Jamie recipe – it was very much a Jim experiment.
- 1 shallot
- knob of butter
- 1 tablespoon English Mustard
- 1 mug of fish stock
- 1 glass of white wine
- 1 glug double cream
- 1 handful of chopped parsley
- little bit of grated gruyere cheese
I defrosted the lobsters in the fridge overnight. Then I removed meat from shell – watch our video master-class on lobsters – cut into chunks and put back in the clean shells. Then softened the finely chopped shallot in the butter, added the stock, wine and cream and reduce by two-thirds. Then I stirred in the mustard and parsley and added a little bit of seasoning. I spooned the sauce generously over the meat in the shells.After heating the grill I sprinkled over a little of the cheese and whammed it under the flame for 4 minutes.
It was delicious and a real treat; sweet and nutty but still obviously lobster. I served it with a leaf salad and a handful of – well, what else? – French fries!