Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Valentine's Day...Lobster Newburg

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When it comes to Valentine's Day there are only two things to think about as far as I'm concerned, filet mignon or lobster.  The other must is chocolate for desert (here).  The rest is up for grabs.

A couple of years ago, I gave you a Filet Mignon With Roquefort Sauce as a main course for a Valentine's dinner.  There is also a recipe for Filet Mignon with Bernaise Sauce on the blog.

This year I am making you work a little, but not a lot.   If he or she is a lobster lover,  Lobster Newburg will be impressive...just what you want. It is much easier and less labor intensive than the Lobster Thermidor I posted for New Year's Eve but just as delicious.

Gastronomic lore tells us that the forerunner of this famous lobster dish was actually created at Delmonico's, the well-known New York City restaurant, during its heyday in the latter part of the last century. Mr. Ben Wenburg (or Wenberg, as some believe), a Delmonico's habitué during this period, is said to have devised a dish made with seafood, cream, and egg yolks. It was called Wenburg on the menu until some time later when the epicurean Mr. Wenburg became involved in a dispute with the management. Thereafter, the restaurant renamed the offering seafood "Newburg," and a classic was born.

A word to those who are squeamish about boiling live lobsters (I am).  Most fishmongers or reputable food markets will be happy to cook the lobster for you. Tell them to undercook by a couple of minutes and take the dead things home in a bag and immediately  proceed with the rest of the recipe.  Problem solved.

Check out Omnomicon's blog for the most beautiful photos I have ever seen on how to make this delicious dish and go for it! If that doesn't inspire you, nothing else will. (her recipe is different)

The recipe below is for 6 people, but if you serve it for Valentine's Day to just one significant other it can be easily adjusted.

Serves 6
  • three 1 1/2-pound live lobsters
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon medium-dry Sherry
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon brandy
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated paprika*
  • salt to taste
  • 4 large egg yolks, beaten well
  • toast points or white rice as an accompaniment
  • Tarragon for garnish (optional)


    Into a large kettle of boiling salted water plunge the lobsters, head first, and boil them, covered, for 8 minutes from the time the water returns to a boil.

    Transfer the lobsters with tongs to a cutting board and let them cool until they can be handled. Break off the claws at the body and crack them.

    Remove the claw meat and cut it into 1-inch pieces. Halve the lobsters length-wise along the undersides, remove the meat from the tails, discarding the bodies but saving the tails, and cut it into 1-inch pieces.

    In a heavy saucepan brown the lobster tail shells on medium high in 1/2 the butter for a couple of minutes.  Remove from heat and discard.  Add the additional butter and the lobster meat and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes.  Add 2 tablespoons of the Sherry and 3 tablespoons of the brandy, and cook the mixture, stirring, for 2 minutes.

    Transfer the lobster meat with a slotted spoon to a bowl.

    Add the cream to the Sherry mixture and boil the mixture until it is reduced to about 1 cup.

    Reduce the heat to low and stir in the remaining 1 teaspoon Sherry, the remaining 1 teaspoon brandy, the paprika, and salt to taste.

    Whisk in the yolks, cook the mixture, whisking constantly, until it registers 140°F. on a deep-fat thermometer, and cook it, whisking, for 3 minutes more.

    Stir in the lobster meat and serve the lobster Newburg over the toast or, alternatively, over rice. Garnish with fresh tarragon.

    *The original recipe called for 1/4 tsp. nutmeg and cayenne to taste.  I much prefer the use of paprika in this dish.  It is definitely more traditional 


    1. Your picture makes me crave for it... it's been a long time since I ate lobster =)

    2. Julieta what a decadent and perfect Valentines Dinner!

      Art by Karena

    3. Raquel

      That's why I put it up!


      Decadent? great, then I'm on the right track!

    4. Landlocked here in the midwest, I always reserve seafood for when I am close to the source. Makes me want to fly away right now! Hope your Valentine's Day is delicious.

    5. I am also landlocked here in Georgia but we have a place in Atlanta that has Maine lobsters live in tanks. Not the same thing but I will take it when the craving gets bad. Would trade anything for a Maine lobster roll!


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