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How fresh is fresh . . . in other words fresh versus frozen?

LobsterIt’s a bumper column this week answering related questions posed to me this week by numerous emails from around the world. It would seem that people have over estimated the food they needed for the festive period and find themselves with an over supply of food - foods that are close to or are over their use by date. So let us this week investigate these subjects:

Of course there is also Tallyrand’s recipe of the week to hook into. After requests from many Kiwis and some USA folk, this week it is the classic Lobster / crayfish Thermidor . . . with a few extra’s thrown in also! Like my recipe for an Asian style Lobster / crayfish dish <click here> and I have also updated and extended the purchasing, storing and cooking of lobster / crayfish to be found at my recipe from way back in October, 2000 <click here> I know in the UK these are none too common these days, but in the US and here in New Zealand they are readily available and still quite cheap.

In fact all being well, weather permitting I will be diving for my own this weekend with friends along with a spot of fishing. New Zealand waters abound with wonderful seafoods, that can be quite easily gathered all year around and especially this time of the year, (it is summer here in the southern hemisphere) like Pacific and rock oysters, scallops, crayfish, mussels etc.

Join me next week when I will be revealing my New Year Culinary Resolutions and an interesting update on my Xmas cake recipe! In the meantime enjoy and languish in these decadent recipes! And if Lobster / Crayfish are not available or not to your liking; try these with your favourite white fish or other seafoods like mussels or scallops . . . not quite as decadent and a whole lot less expensive . . . Bon appetit and enjoy!


  • Use my previous recipe / method for cooking the Lobster / New Zealand Crayfish and removing the flesh <click here>

  • Make the Thermidor sauce as outlined below

  • Lightly combine the cooked flesh in the sauce, place in oven proof dishes or back into the shell, sprinkle lightly with grated cheddar (a good tasty one) and place under the salamander until cheese melts and lightly browns (this is known as gratinée)

Traditionally the Thermidor sauce was made with 200gm of roux (flour and butter) however this produced a very heavy and thick sauce. By reducing the roux, a lighter, fresher sauce is produced and is less at risk from burning. This recipe produces such a sauce, that has a good coating/nappé consistency.

Ingredients for Lobster Thermidor










small studded onion (clouté)



grated cheddar 100 gm
mild English mustard 2 tbsp

How to make Lobster Thermidor

  • Bring milk to blood temperature with the studded onion and allow to infuse for 10 minutes, remove the onion and discard
  • Melt the butter in a thick bottom pan, add flour and mix in
  • Cook over a low heat for 5 minutes to a white roux (no additional colour)
  • Gradually add the warmed strained milk and stir until smooth
  • Allow to simmer for 30 minutes
  • Pass (strain) the sauce into a clean pan, add grated cheddar and mild English mustard, bring back to the boil and correct the seasoning and consistency
  • If not needed immediately, cover with a cartouche or a thin film of butter and keep warm in a bain marie

Chef's Tip for Lobster Thermidor

Consistency may be corrected by adding cream or milk to thin. Beurre manié may be added for a thicker consistency if required (equal quantities of flour and butter kneaded together to form a paste) stir this into the sauce in small amounts until thickness required is reached.

Asian style Lobster Thermidor

I have not given amounts here as I always think it best to add ingredients like garlic, ginger and chilli to suit your own tastes. But as a guideline, for a 1kg lobster / crayfish use two garlic cloves, a small finger size piece of ginger and half a chilli.

  • Use the previous mentioned methods for cooking the Lobster / New Zealand Crayfish and removing the flesh
  • In a frying pan over a medium heat add a little olive oil, some finely sliced garlic and grated ginger until the aromas are released
  • Add the cooked flesh and stir fry
  • Add some fine strips of green chilli (optional), a splash of Thai fish sauce, some soy sauce and sweet chilli sauce to your own tastes: the clear / semi clear ones, with the chilli seeds are best (available cheaply in New Zealand from Supervalue supermarkets in 1 lt bottles)
  • Finish with some finely sliced spring onion (scallions)
  • Serve while still piping hot with your favourite Asian style accompaniments: rice, noodles, cucumber salad, etc

Enjoy your Lobster Thermidor and bon appetit . . . . .

Chef's terminology:

litres   tsp = teaspoon
millelitres   tbs = tablespoon
kilograms   sq = sufficient quantity (add to taste)
grams   pc = piece, meaning a whole one of

Recipe from professional
Chef Tallyrand

Email Hub-UK : info@hub-uk.com