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Main dish: Lobster Thermidor
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Rinse the lobsters under cold running water and plunge them into the boiling water 45 seconds. Remove the pot from the heat and allow the lobsters to cool in the cooking water 30 minutes. This may have to be done in a number of pots. Remove the lobsters, drain them and cut them through the top of the shell lengthwise and open outward. Remove the claws at their joints and remove their meat; cut larger pieces into chunks and set aside. Remove meat from tail and cut into chunks; set aside. From the body of the lobster, remove the gritty and dirty white membrane. If there is green tomalley or red roe, set it aside. Rinse out the shell. Return the meat to the shells.
- 6 (1 1/2-pound) Maine lobsters
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- Dash fresh-grated nutmeg
- Salt and fresh-ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon Better Than Bouillon Lobster Base*
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- 2 shallots, minced
- 1/2 cup clam juice
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon dry English mustard
- 1 teaspoon fresh tarragon leaves, chopped
- Cayenne pepper, to taste
- 1 teaspoon cognac, optional
In a saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the flour and stir to make a paste. Meanwhile, bring the milk to a boil. Add the hot milk to the flour mixture and whisk until mixture boils. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes stirring regularly. Add the nutmeg, salt and pepper.
Dissolve the lobster base in the boiling water. In a nonreactive large saucepan, combine the shallots, dissolved lobster base, clam juice and white wine and cook over high heat until reduced by two thirds. Add the milk mixture, stir to combine and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the cream and mustards and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add 3 tablespoons butter, chopped tarragon, cayenne and cognac, if using. Stir in the reserved tomalley and roe, if any. Spoon 1/4 cup sauce over each of the stuffed lobsters. Place on a broiler pan under a preheated broiler until golden. This should take mere minutes or the lobster meat will toughen. Makes 6 servings.
Per serving: 351 calories, 46 percent calories from fat, 38 grams protein, 8 grams carbohydrates, .11 gram total fiber, 18 grams total fat, 177 milligrams cholesterol, 965 milligrams sodium.
*Better Than Bouillon Lobster Base is available in the soup aisle of supermarkets.