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Simple and Easy Lobster Thermidor, in a Ramekin


(serves 5)
My Lobster Thermidor recipe avoids the main pitfall of the traditional in-the-shell method; You can have your lobster meat nice and tender since you don’t have to cook it an extra time to first remove the meat from the shell. It is also simple and easy, you don’t have to worry about procuring whole fresh lobsters, halving them without breaking the shell, removing meat from the claw, serving an odd number of servings etc. In addition, you avoid the hassle of making a béchamel sauce. And it still tastes rich and creamy.

IngredientsLobster Thermidor

  1. Lobster Tails (2=300g)
  2. Mushrooms (100g)
  3. Onion (0.5)
  4. Mascarpone (200g)
  5. Emmental (100g)
  6. Parmesan (70g)
  7. White Wine (0.75 cups)
  8. Cooked Rice (2 cups)
  9. Garlic (3t)
  10. Butter
  11. Tarragon

Preparation 

  1. Boil 3/4 cups of long grain rice, this will become 2 cups when it is cooked.
  2. Fully defrost your raw lobster tails if they come frozen. Separate the meat from the shell. Cut the meat into bite sized morsels.
  3. In a bowl mix 20g of warm butter, 3t of crushed garlic, 0.5t of salt and 0.5t of white pepper. Add the lobster and mix well. Leave it to marinate while you do the next steps.
  4. If your cheese did not come grated, grate it now. In any case leave the cheese out to warm.
  5. Julienne half an onion into small bits and slice the mushrooms into thin slices. Pan fry the onions on low heat with a large knob of butter, adding the mushrooms once the onion begins to brown.
  6. When the mushrooms become limp turn up the heat and add 3/4 cup of white wine. I tend to use chardonnay for its woody flavour. Let the mixture boil and reduce for 1 minute.
  7. Turn off the fire. Add the Mascarpone to the pan and stir till it has melted. Next, gradually sprinkle on and stir in the grated emmental as you bring the mixture back to a low simmer. Finally sprinkle on two thirds of the parmesan. Turn off the fire as soon as the cheese has melted. Season with 0.5t salt, 0.5t sugar, 1t black pepper and 1T of tarragon.
  8. Preheat your oven to 200oC (390oF).
  9. Divide your cooked rice into 5 ramekins. Press the rice down lightly till it is flat, but do not compact it. Arrange the lobster meat on top of the rice.
  10. Spoon the cheese sauce evenly into the ramekins and sprinkle the remaining parmesan over the top of each ramekin.
  11. Bake for 15 minutes or until brown spots begin to appear on the surface.

NotesThermidor in Ramekin

  • Make sure you let the emmental warm to room temperature before using it or it will separate into oily rubbery clumps.
  • You can use semi cooked orzo pasta if you are not used to cooking rice, but rice goes better with this dish. For more information on rice, refer to my White Rice Page.
  • The easiest way to separate the meat from the shell is to cut the shell in two lengthwise with a pair of scissors along the ‘spine’.
  • For alternative cheeses, refer to my Cheese Page.
  • Butter is essential to the taste of lobster thermidor, do not substitute with olive oil.
 
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Posted by on November 11, 2014 in French, Main Courses, Recipe, Seafood

 

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Two Colour Seafood Terrine


(serves 6 to 9)
This is a recipe for a cold semi-firm seafood terrine that is half red and half green. The use of canned lobster bisque and Nori (dried seaweed) sheets makes it much easier to get a full spectrum of seafood flavours while using just fish and prawn as you base ingredients. The lobster bisque is also used to make a lobster-shallot sauce that goes superbly with the terrine. Another nice touch is the use of brioche, which gives your terrine a nice buttery tone. The result, a juicy flavourful seafood terrine that everyone will enjoy.
 
Ingredients
  1. Sole Fillet (500g)
  2. Prawns (150g)
  3. Scallops (150g)
  4. Brioche (cubed, 2 cups)
  5. Cream (200ml)
  6. Lobster Bisque (1×400 ml can)
  7. Nori = Dried Seaweed (2 large sheets)
  8. Eggs (2)
  9. Shallots (9)
  10. Mayonnaise
  11. Butter
  12. Brandy
  13. Liquid Smoke
  14. Basil
  15. Dill Weed

Knife Work

  1. Spoon one heaping T of mayonnaise into a bowl so that it will be at room temperature by the time you need it.
  2. Cut each of your 9 shallots in half, peel them, then slice finely.
  3. Cut as much brioche as you need into small cubes until you get 2 cups full.
  4. Cut with scissors 2 large (like A4 paper sized) Nori sheets into confetti.
  5. Shell your prawns and dice them together with the sole fillet into pieces about the size of half a finger. Dust your seafood with salt and pepper from a shaker as if you were going to pan fry them.

Blending the Terrine

  1. In a pan, stir fry one third of the shallots in a dash of oil till they begin to brown. With the pan sizzling hot, add half the can of lobster bisque, 2T brandy and 1t basil. Let the mixture boil for 30 seconds and turn off the heat. Mix in 1 cup of brioche cubes. Allow to cool in a bowl.
  2. In the same pan(after washing it), stir fry another third of the shallots in the same way. This time add 200ml of cream, the Nori confetti, 2T liquid smoke. Let the mixture boil for 30 seconds and turn off the heat. Mix in 1 cup of brioche. Allow to cool in a second bowl.
  3. Place half the fish, half the prawns and an egg in a blender, then add the contents of the first bowl. It must be cool enough such that the egg doesn’t start cooking. Don’t liquidize it completely, just blend till you get a lumpy paste. Spoon the paste back into the bowl.
  4. Blend the rest of the fish and prawns with a second egg with the contents of the second bowl, using the same procedure.

Cooking the Terrine

  1. Line the inside of 6 ramekins with oversized pieces of clear cling film. Spoon the seafood paste from the two bowls into 6 ramekins as shown. Poke with the small end of a spoon to compact the paste and get rid of air pockets.
  2. When you are done, cover each ramekin with a second piece of smaller cling film and tuck the loose bits under the ramekin to seal everything up. The terrine will expand while it is cooking (although it will shrink back after that) so do not fill the ramekins too close to the brim.
  3. Set up your steaming rack in a pot with an inch of water and set it to boil. When the water is boiling. Arrange 3 ramekins within (see the picture below) and steam for half an hour on a low simmer. You can stack the other 3 ramekins on in an overlapping fashion if your pot is tall enough. If not, repeat with the second 3 ramekins.
  4. Allow the ramekins to cool and then chill them in the fridge with the clear film still attached. You can leave them in the fridge overnight.

Sauce 

  1. In the same pan(after washing it again), stir fry the remaining one third of the shallots in a few T of oil. This time you want to stir-fry on low heat until they are a nice deep brown.
  2. Pour in the remaining lobster bisque while the pan is sizzling, add 2T brandy, the warm mayonnaise, 1t dill weed and 1t sugar. Let it boil for 10 seconds and then set aside to cool. When it has cooled enough, spoon into a bowl and  chill this in the fridge as well.

Scallops

  1. Cut each scallop into half from the flat side, then slice them into thin semi-circular pieces.
  2. Melt a large knob of butter in the same pan (after washing it yet again) and then allow the pan to cool. Arrange the scallop pieces in the pan and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
  3. Turn the heat on and cook without touching the scallops at all. The moment you see the scallops get opaque, which is very fast, turn off the fire. They cook fast and this is the best way to ensure each piece is cooked the same and done just right.

Putting It Together

  1. Remove the chilled terrine blocks from the ramekins and clear film and pat dry with kitchen towels.
  2. Slice any uneven bits (like a rounded bottom) off the biggest blocks and mash them up (in their separate colours) so you can use them as fillers later.
  3. Slice each circular block into 2 thinner blocks.
  4. Arrange on plates with the clean cut surface facing up. Fill in any gaps with your mashed bits.
  5. Spoon the sauce onto the plate, around but not on the terrine.
  6. Finally, arrange the scallop petals on the plate on top of the sauce.
  • The structure of seafood terrines
    Fish Terrine 1000

    Another terrine I made on another occasion.

    varies widely. Mine is a simple one with no solid bits but you can put chunks of any kind of seafood you like in yours. Just make sure they cut easily (i.e. nothing chewy like clams)

  • You can make the colours more vibrant if you wish. One option is to use salmon as the fish for the red part and add some blanched chopped spinach to the green part (see picture).
  • I used a stainless steel round form to divide the terrine into inner and outer layers. If you don’t have these in your kitchen, one option is to make a Swiss-roll by spreading a thick layer of fish paste on a suitably sized sheet of Nori, rolling it up and standing it up in the ramekin as the centre. You’ll get a nice spiral pattern as your core (see picture). You can also just dispense with appearances and use a simple left-right arrangement.
  • Traditionally terrine is made in one large loaf shaped block (see picture) but I found that it is much easier to steam ramekins. If you want to make a one loaf terrine, you’ll have to cook the terrine on a pan of water in the oven, and replace the cling film with the more cumbersome parchment paper or perhaps blanched spinach leaves.
 
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Posted by on August 3, 2013 in Appetizers, French, Japanese, Recipe, Seafood

 

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Japanese Style Baked Seafood


(serves 4)
Creamy morsels of tasty seafood, baked to perfection in a fusion version of seafood newburg or lobster thermidor. One cannot help but be amazed at the wonderous properties of miso that allow a wholesome meal to be cooked without salt, sugar, spices, hebs or cheese for that matter. I’m sure you’ll find this dish a refreshing change.

Ingredients

  1. Lobster/Crayfish meat (200g)
  2. Crab meat (100g)
  3. Medium Prawns (100g)
  4. Scallops (100g)
  5. Mushrooms (1.5 cups diced)
  6. Leek (3/4 cup chopped)
  7. Pressed Garlic (2t)
  8. Milk (1 cup)
  9. Miso (3t)
  10. Honey (1t)
  11. Mayonnaise (4t)
  12. Brandy (3T)
  13. Flour (1T)

Preparation

  1. Its much easier to de-shell lobster and crab if they are pre-boiled, so do this before anything else if you procured the raw variety. Canned dressed crab is an easier option for crabs.  Its alright to leave the prawns (de-shelled) and scallops raw.
  2. Cut all your seafood meat into 1/2 inch pieces, keeping the raw meat seperate from the cooked. Also cut your leek into thin diagonal discs and your mushooms into 1/4 inch cubes.
  3. The miso base comes first. In a small pan, fry in oil 2t of garlic that has been through a press until they begin to brown, then spoon in 3t of miso followed by 3T of brandy. Stir fry for a minute and then add 1/4 cup of water, using it to mash the paste into an emulsion. When the mixture reboils, drizzle in 1t of honey before removing from heat.
  4. In a larger pan fry the leek under high heat in a few T of oil, until it begins to soften.  Add in your prawn and scallop and continue to stir occasionally until the meat begins to shrink. 
  5. Keep the heat on high. Add few more T of oil and then sprinkle on 1T of flour. Stir-fry for a further minute to cook the flour and then pour in 1 cup of milk slowly, while stirring.
  6. When the milk starts to bubble and thicken, add miso mixture, the cooked meat, and the mushrooms. Cook for 1 minute further and then remove from fire.  Mix in 4t of mayonnaise and 2t of black pepper.
  7. Spoon the seafood mixture into either individual ramekins or a casserole dish to await baking. When the time comes, preheat your oven to 200oC (390oF) and bake for 15 minutes. I think this bake is best served with steamed white rice but you can use other staples instead, but preferably not potatoes.

Notes

  • Crustacean meat turns mushy very quickly when it is not cooked quickly. So its always preferable to cook lobsters, prawns, crayfish, crabs, scampi etc under high direct heat. That’s why we shouldn’t put raw seafood into sauce and let the baking cook it.
  • As a option you may reserve the lobster or crab shells as baking vessels, as shown in the photo. For an all-in-one meal I sometimes place a bed of cooked rice under the seafood mix before baking (there’ll be no room to do this if you are using the shells of course).
  • I have on occasion substituted whole oysters for the crustacean meat with good results. You might want to give it a try. In Japan, they would use julienned white turnip instead of leek, you can experient with that as well.
  • If you are not familiar with miso, which one might consider the analogue of cheese in Japan, refer to this post of Kobi’s Kichen.
 
 

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