“A woman should never be seen eating or drinking, unless it be lobster salad and Champagne, the only true feminine and becoming viands.”
~ Lord Byron
When Nick and I went to Boston a few years ago, I had lobster every single day of our week-long trip. On one of our last days there, we went to the Union Oyster House, the oldest restaurant in the United States, and I had Lobster Newburg for the first time. A lovely cream sauce flavored with Sherry or Madeira, accented with a bit of nutmeg – not too fussy, just velvety and delicious – bathed the succulent lobster, and it all rested in a flaky, buttery pastry shell. What’s not to love about that? It was heavenly.
I try not to eat like that too often, so I hadn’t had Lobster Newburg again until just last year, when Nick made it for me as part of his surprise 4-course Valentine’s Day meal. It was then that I remembered how awesome that dish was.
Every Tuesday, we have friends over for dinner just to hang out and share a meal together Since it’s the first time we’re having our Tuesday night dinner again in the new year, I thought we should celebrate and have something special. Ta-da! A really good excuse for me to try my hand at Lobster Newburg. I decided to take information from two different recipes. One from epicurious.com, and one from allrecipes.com.
The ingredients for the sauce aren’t too fussy:
2 egg yolks, beaten
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons dry sherry or madeira
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 pinch ground nutmeg
I bought some lobster tails at Costco, and steamed them for about 8 minutes over water with some garlic salt.
When they were done, I took the meat out of them and cut it into chunks. Then I started the sauce.
I melted the butter and added the cayenne pepper (a suggestion a reviewer made) – then I added the lobster meat so it would get some good flavor from the butter, and the butter would get good flavor from the lobster. I also added some Madeira. It smelled delicious!
After a few minutes, I removed the meat with a slotted spoon and put it aside.
I added the cream, and kept the mixture on a low bubble, lightly whisking, pretty much constantly – the epicurious recipe tells you to boil the cream, but I was taught to never boil cream – it can get a skin on the bottom and burn (gross!) and boiling can also break apart the milk fats, resulting in an almost grainy texture. Keeping the mixture on a low bubble will still thicken your sauce – it just takes a bit longer, but it’s worth it.
While the cream was cooking down, I put puff pastry shells in the oven. Those baked for about 20 minutes at 425F. When they came out, I removed the “tops” and put them aside. I love puff pastry.
After the cream had reduced enough, I took my beaten egg yolks and tempered them with a small amount of cream, a little at a time, and then added the yolks to the sauce and whisked it all together. Then I added a bit more Madeira, and put the lobster back in to combine it all.
I had actually also bought asparagus to go along with the lobster, but with the girls over and all the story-telling from 2011, we forgot all about it! Nick quickly threw together green beans in the microwave instead. Super fast, and delicious.
Lobster Newburg is super easy to make, and yet it’s a totally impressive dish to serve. If you want to cook something fancy for a special occasion, this is a winner! Champagne is definitely a good choice to serve with this as well – besides it being festive, the bubbles cut through the richness of the sauce perfectly and cleanse the palate between each ridiculously delicious bite. Cheers!