James Street Cookery School: Lobster and whelks a treat for bank holiday weekend

Lobster thermidor, a nice treat for the bank holiday weekend
Niall McKenna

THESE two recipes are about cooking something different this bank holiday weekend so get yourself to the fishmonger's for the freshest seafood; Ewings and St George's Market would be my two ports of call but Keenan fishmongers now serve at many of the leading supermarket counters.

With whelks, the most important thing is for them to be cleaned and prepared for cooking, but this is a simple process so don't let it put you off.


(Serves 4)

4 x 500g lobsters

100ml white wine

4 shallots, peeled and fine dice

200ml fish stock

300ml double cream

2 teasp English mustard

40g cheddar cheese, grated

20g Parmesan cheese, grated

salt and pepper

1 medium free-range egg yolk

Bring a large pot of water to the boil, seasoned with salt. Place the lobster in and cook for 10 minutes, remove and leave to cool. In a second pan place in the white wine and shallots and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated.

Add the fish stock and cook until most of this is evaporated; add half of the double cream and mustard and cook until it has reduced by half. Add in the cheese and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

With the rest of the double cream, add to a bowl and whip up, once it forms light and soft peaks fold in the egg yolk, then fold into the cheesy sauce. Pre heat your oven to 220C.

Place the cooled lobster top side up, facing you so you can see a cross in its back. Using a sharp, heavy knife, place the point in the centre of the cross and, holding the head, slice through the shell to the tail. Repeat on the head side.

Crack open the shell and remove all the meat from the shell. Crack off the claws and break and remove meat. Rough chop the meat and add to your sauce. Place back into the lobster shell and place on a roasting tray. Cook for up to 15 minutes until glazed. Remove from the oven and place under grill for five minutes, until the cheese browns and bubbles. Serve with crusty baguette.


(Allow 4-6 whelks per person)

Place the whelks in a pot of cold water with some salt and a touch of vinegar, where their waste will leave them, and you can then proceed with the cleaning. Shop-bought whelks will normally come with their shells in place. Place in a pot with water and heat up. Remove from their shells, using a skewer. After letting them rest briefly, take them out of the pot two at a time and rub them with your fingers to clean any remaining grit before placing on a paper towel.

For the butter dressing you will need:

6 tablesp room temperature butter

1 small shallot, finely diced

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

½ stick celery, finely diced

1 sprig parsley, destalked and finely chopped

1 pinch salt and black pepper


Preheat the oven to 180C. Mix together all the ingredients and brush the whelks with the mix. Place back in the shells, cover with the butter, place on a shallow roasting tray and cook for 15 minutes. Serve warm with the melted butter poured over them.

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