Sunday, May 22, 2011

Shrimp Thermidor

When I married into my husband's family I quickly discovered that I was going to be eating well.  They lived in a former French colony of West Africa for 16 years, so any western food they were served in a restaurant was of course French cuisine.  They came to greatly appreciate this food and so incorporated into their home. Their favorite dish was lobster thermidor, which I tasted there a few years ago, and it is amazing.  My mother-in-law altered the dish slightly to use shrimp instead of lobster, since lobster is so expensive here in the US, so I've mixed a bit of her twists along with a recipe in The Fannie Farmer Cookbook to create my version of this delicacy.

This recipe is not for the dieter, or the lactose intolerant, but if you enjoy the rich creaminess of French cuisine, mixed with a bit of seafood, then you will definitely fall in love with this dish.  Bon Appètit!


2 pounds frozen raw shrimp, with peels and tails on
1 packet Zatarain's shrimp and crab boil*

8 oz fresh mushrooms
1/3 - 1/2 of a red onion
8 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 1/2 cups half and half
2 dried bay leaves
1/4 cup sherry**
4 cups shredded swiss cheese (not quite a pound)
salt to taste

Rinse the shrimp under cold running water to thaw.  This takes about 5-7 minutes.

Place bag of boil in a large pot and fill the pot with water, making sure to leave enough room for the shrimp.  When water comes to a rolling boil, add the shrimp, cover, and boil for about 5 minutes, until the shrimp turn pink.
This is the shrimp boil you should look for.  
Drain shrimp and allow to cool until easy to handle.  Then, remove the peels and tails. 

Slice the mushrooms and onion.  I usually do this while the shrimp is cooling.
The onions should be sliced finely.
Melt 5 tablespoons of butter in a deep saucepan.  Then, add mushrooms and onion, cutting up mushrooms into smaller chunks with the back of the spoon.  Cook until onions are tender and mushrooms are golden brown.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Using the same pan, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter.  Add the flour and stir until smooth.

Slowly add half and half to this mixture; add bay leaves.  Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture thickens.

When mixture has thickened, add the sherry and cook for 1 minute. Remove bay leaves.  Then, stir in 2 cups of the shredded swiss cheese and stir until the cheese melts.  Add mushrooms and onions.  Remove from heat and stir in the shrimp. 

Pour thermidor into a greased baking dish, preferably a shallow one, so that each bite is adequately covered with the cheese in the next step.

Sprinkle remaining 2 cups of shredded cheese over the top.

Bake at 450F for 10-15 minutes.  When it starts to bubble, switch the heat to the broiler and broil until the cheese turns golden brown. 

Serve over rice.

*You could also use 2 pounds of cooked, frozen shrimp and just skip the steps of boiling the shrimp in the shrimp boil.  I have made this both ways, and I prefer cooking my own because it does add a better seafood flavor. 
**The sherry gives it a distinct taste, so if you're not comfortable purchasing actual sherry or cream sherry from the liquor store, white cooking wine would be an okay alternative.  


  1. This looks so good! I never knew what was in shrimp thermidor, but now I think I would definitely like it!

  2. Sounds and LOOKS delicious! I love all your pictures!

  3. I have an old recipe for Shrimp Thermidor and it just didn't taste right, so I found yours and will use it next time, as it looks more like how I thought it should taste. Thanks!


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