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Lobster Thermidor

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Lobster Thermidor
Lobster Thermidor (left of plate)
Place of originFrance
Main ingredientslobster meat, egg yolks, brandy, mustard

Lobster Thermidor is a French dish of lobster meat cooked in a rich wine sauce, stuffed back into a lobster shell, and browned. The sauce is often a mixture of egg yolks and brandy (such as Cognac), served with an oven-browned cheese crust, typically Gruyère.[1] The sauce originally contained mustard (typically powdered mustard).[2]


In January 1891, the play Thermidor by Victorien Sardou opened in the Comédie-Française theatre. The play took its name from a summer month in the French Republican Calendar, during which the Thermidorian Reaction in 1794 occurred, overthrowing Robespierre and ending the Reign of Terror. The recipe of lobster Thermidor was possibly created at Café de Paris by Leopold Mourier, a former assistant to Auguste Escoffier, or possibly it was created in 1894 at Chez Marie.[3][4] Another source says it was created at Maison Maire, whose owner Mlle. Paillard sold the restaurant to Mourier.[5] Maison Maire was a Parisian restaurant near the Théâtre de la Porte Saint-Martin. According to that account, Paillard created the name of the recipe due to the play's notoriety. The play was highly controversial and was closed by the authorities, re-opening in March 1896.

The lobster Thermidor at Maison Maire was served like homard Américain, which was made with tomatoes, cayenne, and brandy, but with the addition of English mustard.[2] An early London recipe for Homard à l'Américaine referred to à la Thermidor as a version with the addition of English mustard,[6] while an early American recipe for lobster Thermidor left out the tomatoes, cayenne, and mustard and added cream sauce thickened with Béarnaise sauce and a sprinkling of grated cheese.[7] It can be served with Newberg sauce but is differentiated from lobster Newberg by the addition of tomatoes.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Crofton, Ian (2013). A Curious History of Food and Drink. New York: Quercus. ISBN 9781623658267. Retrieved February 16, 2021.
  2. ^ a b Strong, Rowland (1900). Where and How to Dine in Paris. London: Grant Richards. p. 75. Retrieved February 16, 2021.
  3. ^ James Steen. The 50 Greatest Dishes of the World.
  4. ^ "Linda's Culinary Dictionary Index". 20 September 2021.
  5. ^ Bodet, R. (1939). Toques blanches et habits noirs. Dorbon-ainé. p. 70. Retrieved February 16, 2021.
  6. ^ Beaty-Pownall, S., ed. (1903). The "Queen" Cookery Books. Series XII. Fish. Part I. London: Horace Cox. pp. 138–140. Retrieved February 16, 2021.
  7. ^ Hoff, A. C., ed. (1914). Fish, Oysters, and Sea Foods of the World Famous Chefs. Los Angeles: International Publishing. p. 40. Retrieved February 16, 2021.
  8. ^ Kander, Mrs. Simon (June 1924). The way to a man's heart: The Settlement Cook Book (13th ed.). Milwaukee: The Settlement Cook Book Co. pp. 153–154. Retrieved February 16, 2021.

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