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55 Lobster thermidor


• 1 cooked lobster, about 1kg in weight • 1tbsp olive oil • 1 small leek, trimmed and finely chopped • 1tsp grain mustard


• 1 small fresh red chilli, deseeded and very finely chopped • 90ml/3fl oz double cream • 90ml/3fl oz dry white wine • Salt and pepper • 1tbsp each chopped fresh tarragon and chives • 30g/1oz finely grated Sharpham Rustic cheese


1. Split the lobster in two with a large knife by putting the point of the knife into the cross behind its head and bringing it through the head to the work surface and then turning the lobster round so that you can bring the knife down through the tail to split that in two as well.


2. Pick out any roe (the bright orangey-red stuff) and keep that to one side. Pick out the plasticky looking stomach sac and discard that along with any black line running along the back (the intestine – like the one in a prawn, just bigger). Take out all the remaining lobster meat and cut into 2.5cm/1” cubes including the claw meat. (We use a small rolling pin to gently crack open the claws to get at the meat).


3. Wash the body and tail shells in cold water and dry with some kitchen paper. Put them on to a baking sheet and place the cubed lobster meat and any roe back in the shells.


4. Heat the oil in a small frying pan and add the leeks with a little salt and pepper. Cook gently until the leeks have softened, stirring them from time to time.


5. Stir the mustard, red chilli, cream and white wine into the softened leeks. Bring the liquid to the boil and simmer until it is reduced by half. Stir in the herbs.


6. Spoon the cream sauce over the lobster meat in the shells and sprinkle over the grated cheese. We protected the lobster tentacles with some aluminium foil so they don’t scorch under the heat of the grill.


7. Heat your grill for 10 minutes until it is good and hot and then put the baking sheet with the lobster underneath. Heat through until the cheesy topping is golden brown and bubbling. Serve at once.


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