EDP Norfolk - - Food & Drink -

One of my favourite herb com­bi­na­tions is ‘fines herbes’ the won­der­ful mix of flavour from tar­ragon, chervil, pars­ley and chives. A clas­sic dish full of these herbs is a ther­mi­dor, of course tra­di­tion­ally made with lob­ster, but works bril­liantly with Cromer crab too. Some may think it is a dated dish but I think it stands the test of time, and is de­li­cious served as a starter or main course.

Serves 4 in either ramekins or in­di­vid­ual brulee dishes In­gre­di­ents

35g but­ter 2 ba­nana shal­lots or a small onion, finely chopped 900ml fish stock 75ml Noilly Prat or dry sherry 120ml dou­ble cream ½ tea­spoon English mus­tard 2 tea­spoons chopped fresh fines herbes (chervil, tar­ragon, pars­ley and chives) 2 tea­spoons lemon juice Salt and freshly ground pep­per 2-3 cooked and dressed Cromer crabs ap­prox 450g 30g grated alpine cheese or Nor­folk Dap­ple


1. For the sauce, melt the but­ter in a medium pan. Add the shal­lots and cook them gen­tly for 3–4 min­utes un­til they are soft but not browned. Add the fish stock, Noilly Prat and half the dou­ble cream, bring the pan to the boil and re­duce the liq­uid by three-quar­ters to about 260ml. Add the rest of the cream and sim­mer for a cou­ple of min­utes un­til the sauce coats the back of a spoon, then add the mus­tard, fine herbes and lemon juice. Taste and sea­son with salt and freshly ground pep­per.

2. If you are go­ing to serve the ther­mi­dors later, stand the sauce to cool at this point. Pre­heat the grill to the high­est heat.

3. Re­move the crab­meat from the shells and di­vide evenly be­tween the dishes, spoon over the sauce and top with grated cheese. Grill for three min­utes un­til golden and bub­bling.

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