Lobster Newburg Recipe
Lobster Newburg is a cream sauce dish originating from Delmonico's restaurant in New York City in 1867. There are many variations of this recipe but there is only one authentic recipe.
The brothers who owned Delmonico’s were Swiss Italians and were no doubt familiar with creating delicious sauces.
Lobster Newburg resembles a variation of the French mother sauce called Bechamel, which consists of unsalted butter, flour, whole milk, and other ingredients.
It also vaguely resembles the carbonara sauce popular in Italy, which consists of raw eggs and Pecorino Romano which are stirred together until they form a sauce.
The origin of the Lobster Newburg is said to have been at the request of a customer of Delmonico’s restaurant, Mr. Wenburg. It had since also been referred to as Lobster Wenburg.
Mr. Wenburg fell out with the restaurant owners and the dish was removed from the menu. But the popularity of the Lobster Wenburg convinced the owners of the restaurant to bring it back.
It is known today, Lobster Newburg, a variation of the surname Wenburg.
That origin story has come into question because a review of Delmonico’s menus reveals that there was never a dish called Lobster Wenberg.
The first documentation of a similar dish is in an 1884 Delmonico’s menu that lists a dish called, Terrapines à la Newberg. (image of menu available at the Internet Archive).
Interestingly enough, the dish is called Newberg, not Newburg as it’s commonly referred to today.
The Lost Authentic Lobster Newburg Recipe
A cookbook from 1887, Miss Parloa’s Kitchen Companion: A Guide for All Who Would be Good Housekeepers, lists a recipe for Lobster Newburg.
4 pounds of lobster
4 tbsp of butter
2 tbsp of brandy
2 tbsp of sherry
2 tsp of salt
1/4 tsp of pepper
Half a pint of cream
4 egg yolks
A slight grating of nutmeg
Cut the lobster meat into bite-size chunks.
Warm the butter on a pan, add the lobster meat and cook for five minutes.
After five minutes add salt, pepper, sherry, brandy, and nutmeg and simmer for an additional five minutes.
Beat the egg yolks and add the cream.
At the end of the five minutes of simmering add the egg yolk and cream mixture to the lobster and butter.
Remove immediately and serve.
This is Delmonico’s authentic Lobster Newberg Recipe:
Delmonico’s Official Lobster Newburg Recipe
The now-defunct Delmonico’s restaurant website published their original recipe, which includes a surprising ingredient, cayenne pepper.
“Cook six lobsters each weighing about two pounds in boiling salted water for twenty-five minutes.
Twelve pounds of live lobster when cooked yields from two to two and a half pounds of meat with three to four ounces of coral.
When cold detach the bodies from the tails and cut the latter into slices, put them into a sautoir, each piece lying flat, and add hot clarified butter;
Season with salt and fry lightly on both sides without coloring;
Moisten to their height with good raw cream;
Reduce the heat quickly to half;
Then add two or three spoonfuls of Madeira wine;
Boil the liquid once more only, then remove and thicken with a thickening of egg yolks and raw cream.
Cook without boiling, incorporating a little cayenne and butter;
Then arrange the pieces in a vegetable dish and pour the sauce over.”
Variations of Lobster Newburg Recipe
Today there are many variations of the original Lobster Newburg recipe. Variations had begun over 130 years ago, mere years after the recipe was invented at Delmonico’s restaurant.
Some variants omit brandy, while some add lemon juice and paprika.
All recipes have a core set of ingredients that can form the framework for the authentic version.
Like any recipe for which claims of authenticity are made, Lobster Newburg has also become a starting point for changes that suit different people.
Give the original recipe a try and then research other ways to make it.
However you make it, using fresh lobsters will assure that your recipe will be a winner!