Lobster Thermidor in Parmesan Phyllo Baskets

Lobster, heavy cream and Parmesan cheese are combined here in a unique manner that is equally dramatic and infinitely easier than beginning with live lobsters—as Julia Child did for her Lobster Thermidor.

Photo by Franny N.

PREP TIME

35

minutes

TOTAL TIME

125

minutes

SERVINGS

6

servings

PREP TIME

35

minutes

TOTAL TIME

125

minutes

SERVINGS

6

servings

Ingredients

  • SHELLS:

  • 1

    tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

  • 1

    tablespoon olive oil

  • 4

    sheets phyllo pastry

  • 1/2

    cup Parmesan cheese, very finely shredded

  • RICE:

  • 1 1/2

    cups Indian basmati rice

  • 2

    cups water

  • THERMIDOR:

  • 1

    can frozen lobster meat, tails and claws variety, defrosted

  • 2

    tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 2

    shallots, minced

  • 1

    tablespoon Dijon mustard

  • 1/4

    cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/2

    teaspoon paprika

  • 1/8

    teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1

    cup water

  • 1/2

    cup dry white wine

  • 8

    ounces white button mushrooms, sliced, about 3 1/2 cups

  • 1

    cup whipping cream

  • 2

    egg yolks

  • 2

    tablespoons Cognac or brandy

  • 2

    tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

Directions

To make phyllo cups, preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Combine melted butter and oil. Spread 1 phyllo sheet lightly with butter and oil mixture (all of surface does not need to be covered). Sprinkle with ⅓ of Parmesan. Lay another sheet on top, repeating twice. Finally top with fourth sheet, finishing with butter and oil mixture only. Cut layered phyllo into 6 rectangles or squares (shape depends on brand of phyllo). Push center of each phyllo rectangle deep into cup of cupcake pan, staggering rectangles so each is somewhat apart. Allow edges of phyllo to overflow cup tops in a decorative frill. Bake in centre of oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden. Cool on a rack; store airtight for a day at room temperature or in refrigerator for up to several days. To make rice, wash in colander under cold running water. Turn into a medium saucepan; add measured water. Let soak at room temperature for 30 to 90 minutes. Then bring to a boil over medium heat; reduce heat to very low. Cook 15 minutes; turn off heat. Keep covered for 15 minutes before fluffing with a fork. Rice keeps well in a warm spot for an hour. To make thermidor, defrost lobster in can overnight in refrigerator; then open. Over the sink, press lid to press down firmly on the lobster meat within until somewhat dry (liquid is discarded). Cut large pieces into chunks. Cover and immediately refrigerate until needed. Melt butter over medium heat until bubbly. Add shallots; cook 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in mustard. Mix flour with paprika and cayenne; stir into shallots. Cook 1 minute. Whisking briskly, stir in water and wine. Bring to a slow boil so bubbles are just appearing; cook 2 minutes or until thick and somewhat smooth. Stir in mushrooms; cook 3 to 4 minutes or until they release their liquid. (If making ahead, take pan off heat; place a piece of plastic wrap directly on sauce surface. Cool on a rack; then promptly refrigerate for up to a day. Stir frequently with a wooden spoon while reheating over medium heat until hot but not boiling.) Stir in cream; heat 1 to 2 minutes or until hot but not boiling. While heating, stir yolks with Cognac in a small dish such as a custard cup. When sauce is hot, spoon about 2 tablespoons of hot liquid over the yolks and stir well. Stir back into hot sauce; cook a minute or 2 stirring constantly. Do not let sauce boil! (Sauce tastes slightly flat as no salt has been added, however lobster adds sufficient seasoning.) Add lobster; continue heating 3 minutes or until just hot. Fill phyllo baskets to overflowing with rice. Top with Thermidor, letting sauce decoratively flow onto warm plate. Garnish with parsley. Serve immediately.

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