Julia Child 100

Recipe: Homard Gratiné au Fromage


Homard Gratiné au Fromage
(Lobster Steamed in Wine and Gratinéed with Cheese)

Here is a delicious way to serve stuffed broiled lobsters. It is particularly recommended for the cook who wants a splendid main course that can be assembled at leisure. This is a much simpler recipe than lobster Thermidor, and every bit as good. The lobsters are steamed in wine and herbs, then this liquid is used to make the light cheese sauce, which bubbles around the lobster meat as it heats in the oven.

Steaming the Lobsters

A large fish kettle or steamer
2 cups dry white vermouth
2 cups water
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
1 medium celery stalk, thinly sliced
6 parsley sprigs
1 bay leaf
1 Tb tarragon
2 tsp salt
4 peppercorns
1 live lobsters, 1 ¼  lbs. each
Simmer the above ingredients for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, wash the live lobsters rapidly under cold running water and tie them to a rack (if possible) so they will stay flat during cooking. Bring liquid to a rapid boil, add lobsters, cover tightly, and steam for 18 to 20 minutes or until head feelers can be pulled easily from sockets.
The Sauce

3 Tb butter
A 3-cup enameled saucepan
4 Tb flour
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup grated Swiss cheese
Salt and pepper
When Lobsters are done, remove them. (If you did not tie the lobsters before cooking, tie or weight the tails so they will flatten while cooling.) Rapidly boil down cooking liquid until it has reduced to 2 cups. Melt butter in saucepan, blend in flour, and cook slowly for 2 minutes without browning. Remove from heat, and let cool for a moment. Strain in a cupful of the hot lobster-cooking liquid, vigorously blend with a wire whip, then strain in the rest of the liquid. Bring to the boil, stirring, for 1 minute. Thin out with spoonfuls of cream until sauce coats a spoon nicely. Stir in all but 2 tablespoons of the cheese, and correct seasoning.
Browning Under the Broiler

1 Tb butter
A shallow broiling pan
Cut off claws and legs. Turn lobster on their backs and, being careful to keep chest and tail sections attached, cut out underparts of shell to expose tail meat and the chest meat and green matter. Remove sand sack at head. Remove tail meat and slit it up the back so that you can take out and discard the intestinal vein. Cut tail meat into 1/4 – inch slices. Spread a bit of sauce in the tail and chest cavities. Replace the tail meat; remove joint and claw meat and place in the chest cavity.  Cover with sauce, sprinkle with remaining grated cheese, and dot with the butter. Arrange lobsters in the pan and set under a moderate broiler to heat through thoroughly and brown top. (Or refrigerate until 20 minutes before serving time. Then set in upper third of a preheated  425-degree oven until lobsters are bubbling hot and cheese topping has browned. ) Serve with watercress, shoestring potatoes, and a chilled, dry white wine such as a Burgundy.

Serves 4 people 1 lobster each

julia child

In 1961, as a recent graduate of the Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris, Julia Child co-authored the book Mastering the Art of French Cooking and launched her career of educating Americans in delicious ways with food. In 1963 she began her own cooking show The French Chef, produced at WGBH. This recipe was published in The French Chef Cookbook*.

Watch these newly digitized episodes from the first year of The French Chef, 1963: French Onion Soup, Quiche Lorraine and French Apple Tarts.

*THE FRENCH CHEF COOKBOOK by Julia Child, copyright © 1968 by Julia Child. Used by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. For online information about other Random House, Inc. books and authors, see the Internet Web Site at www.randomhouse.com.


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About Julia Child 100

Cooking legend Julia Child introduced French cuisine to American cooks in 1963 with WGBH’s pioneering television series, The French Chef. She was passionate about food and she changed the way Americans cook and eat. Find new pieces about Julia here every day — from tributes to early programs to cooking tips and recipes. As Julia herself said, "Bon appétit!"

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