A classic vintage recipe commonly served at Christmas, Lobster Newburg is the perfect dish for intimate holiday gatherings. Lobster tail served in a brown butter cognac or white wine cream sauce, topped with fresh herbs and served alongside grilled toast as a serving vessel.
What is Lobster Newburg
Lobster Newburg was invented by a New York chef back in 1876 working at Delmonico’s Restaurant. Originally it was named Lobster Wenberg after the chef who created it. And legend tells us that the chef and restaurant owner had a falling out, to which the owner rearranged the letters and changed it slightly to then become the Lobster Newburg we know today. Other legends tell us the recipe was brought to chef Charles Ranhofer by a West Indies sea captain named Ben Wenberg. Regardless of the origins, the destination remains the same – a happy and satisfied diner.
Lobster Newburg is often confused with Lobster Thermidor, Lobster Newburg consists of a split lobster tail (or chunks) slathered in a heavy butter cream sauce that is often highlighted with a splash of cognac or white wine. The final dish is often served in some sort of pastry vessel though it can be serve in a simple dish with crostini on the side as you will see here today.
How to Make Lobster Newburg
Start with the lobsters of course. If using live lobsters, start by steaming them whole and parting out the meat once cooked. Chop the lobster meat into equal sized pieces and set aside. If using lobster tails only, use a sharp knife to cut right through the shell and split the tail in half as shown below. Leave the meat in the shell. Sprinkle the meat thoroughly with sea salt.
Next, add butter (ghee for best results) to a #10 skillet and begin to brown over medium low heat. After a few minutes, add the lobster tails split side down and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes. Then flip the tails over with a pair of tongs and allow the shell side to cook for a few minutes more. Remove the tails to a plate and allow the meat to cool. Once cooled, remove the meat from the shell and keep it whole or chop the meat into bite sized pieces.
Once the tails are removed from the skillet, turn the heat down to low. In a bowl combine the heavy cream, egg yolks, and seasonings. Whisk together. Add the alcohol of choice if using, to the skillet with the leftover butter and lobster juice. Stir long enough for the alcohol to burn off.
Add the cream mixture to the low heated skillet and stir until thickened. Add the lobster back to the sauce and toss to coat well. Serve along side crostini garnished with parsley, chives, or even a little dill.
- 10 inch skillet or 12 inch skillet
- Cutting board
- wooden spoon
- 4 lobster tails
- 2 teaspoons sea salt fine
- 5 Tablespoons butter
- 1-1/2 cup heavy cream
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup cognac or white wine
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- Using a sharp knife, cut the lobster tails in half length wise. Start in the middle and slice, turn the tail and slice the other half. Sprinkle the meat of the tails with a teaspoon of sea salt.
- Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Place the lobster tails meat side down in the butter for 2 to 3 minutes. Once the red of the shell is creeping up the side 1/4 to 1/2 inch, flip the tails over in the skillet onto the shell side. Cook for another 2 to 3 minutes until bright red in color. Remove from the skillet and set aside on a plate to cool.
- Turn the skillet off and add the cognac or white wine. The residual heat from the skillet will burn off the alcohol. Stir well to combine the alcohol with the leftover butter.
- In a medium bowl whisk together the heavy cream, yolks, and seasoning. Pull out the lobster meat from the tails and dice into bite sized pieces. Set aside.
- Turn the burner under the skillet back on to a low heat. Pour the heavy cream mixture into the skillet and use a wooden spoon or whisk to constantly move the sauce around the skillet. It's okay for the sauce to simmer but do not leave the sauce unattended as it can cause breaking and clumps within the sauce. Constantly stirring prevents the eggs from cooking.
- Once the sauce has thickened, after about 10 to 15 minutes, remove from the heat and add the diced lobster. Stir to coat and serve as is, over pasta, or alongside crostini.