Mitch Tonks’ Lobster Thermidor

A classic Lobster Thermidor from acclaimed restaurateur, chef and author, Mitch Tonks

Serves 4

  • 4 live lobsters, about 750 g each
  • 1 onion
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 8 black peppercorns, whole
  • 200 ml milk
  • 25 g unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp English mustard
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 shot of Brandy
  • Handful of fresh tarragon leaves, chopped
  • Sea salt and pepper

Top Tips

Place the lobsters in the freezer for an hour before cooking to make them sleepy.



  1. First of all bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and add the live lobsters. Cook for 8-10 minutes. Remove from the water and allow to cool and then cut in half lengthways from the head to the tail. Remove all the meat, separating the dark meat and the coral (present in females) from the white meat and pick all the meat from the claws. Reserve the shells as these will be used for serving.
  2. Make the sauce base by placing the onion, bay leaf, peppercorns and milk into a pan and bringing to the boil. Simmer for 2-3 minutes and remove from the heat and leave to one side to infuse – about 10 minutes will be fine. In another pan gently melt half the butter and stir in the flour to make a roux (a thick creamy paste). Take off the heat and slowly add the cooled milk, stirring all the time to avoid lumps, and allow to thicken. Return to the heat and gently warm to cook out the flour and let the sauce thicken properly. Stir in the mustard and set aside. If you find that you have any lumps, simply strain the sauce through a sieve.
  3. In a larger pan add the rest of the butter and gently fry the garlic, allowing the butter to become well flavoured. Add all the lobster meat, stirring it around so that it becomes coated in the garlic and butter. Pour in the brandy and set alight until the alcohol is burned off. Pour in the sauce base and add the tarragon. Stir around and season to taste. Place this mixture back in the shells and place under a hot grill for 1-2 minutes until golden on top. Serve.

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