Lobster Gratiné

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Preparation info

  • 4

    • Difficulty


Appears in

New York Times Menu Cookbook

New York Times Menu Cookbook

By Craig Claiborne

Published 1966

  • About


  • 2 cups dry white French vermouth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium celery rib, thinly sliced
  • 6 parsley sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon dried tarragon or 1 fresh tarragon sprig
  • Salt
  • 4 peppercorns
  • 4 live lobsters ( pounds each) Butter
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup grated Swiss cheese
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Combine the vermouth, water, onion, carrot, celery, parsley, bay leaf, tarragon, two teaspoons salt and the peppercorns in a fish kettle or steamer. Simmer for fifteen minutes.

  2. If possible, tie the lobsters to a rack so they will stay flat during cooking. Add the lobsters to the rapidly boiling liquid. Otherwise, the lobsters may be dropped into the boiling liquid. Cover closely and steam the lobsters for eighteen to twenty minutes, or until head-feelers can be pulled easily from the sockets. Remove the lobsters and set aside. Place the cooking liquid over high heat and reduce to approximately two cups. Strain.

  3. Melt one-fourth cup butter in a saucepan and blend in the flour, stirring with a wire whisk. Cook for two minutes but do not brown. Add half of the cooking liquid, stirring vigorously with the whisk. Add the rest of the cooking liquid and cook, stirring, for one minute. Add the cream. When well blended, stir in all but two tablespoons of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  4. Cut off the claws and legs and underpart of lobster shells. Remove sacs and spongy tissues near head of lobsters to expose tail meat and green matter. Cut crisscross slashes through tail meat. The tail meat is, of course, left in the shell. Cover tail meat with sauce. Spoon a bit of sauce into chest cavities.

  5. Remove the meat from the claws and place the meat in the chest cavities. Cover claw meat with sauce. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and dot with butter. Arrange lobsters in a broiling pan and set under a moderate broiler to heat through and brown the top.

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