This dish has been one of my favorites since I first tasted it at an upscale wedding reception for my college buddy, Mike Tremel, and his bride Alaine, back in 1966. The mixture of shrimp, scallops and lobster was absolutely yummy in the cream sauce lightly flavored with cheese. It was served with rice. I kept returning to the buffet for more servings. I made a pig of myself, and I loved it. Well, what the heck, I was only 22 years old and I had a ravenous appetite at that age.
Some years later Marie and I would see Lobster Newburg on the menu in some good seafood restaurants, and I would order it now and then, but I was always disappointed as the restaurant versions just didn't measure up to what I had as a young man. I am surprised that Marie never made Lobster or Seafood Newburg, but that was one item she never tried.
Today I was paging through one of my favorite instructional books, The Professional Chef©, and I happened to see that dish in the index while searching for a different food. Later, when Janet asked what we would have for dinner that luscious choice immediately came to mind. Since we shop for bargains for things like great fresh seafood, and immediately vacuum seal it and freeze it, I realized we had all the seafood ingredients here at home. What a delight!
I found a recipe on the Internet that looked pretty good, so for once I thought the given recipe was worth trying without preliminary modifications on my part. All I planned to do beyond the recipe was to add scallops and use crab instead of lobster. I am reporting back with the results now, and I have made very significant changes to the Internet recipe.
Janet and I tried the Internet recipe and we served it over rice. Our summary opinion is that it was significantly underseasoned and that it would be better served on grilled garlic toast points than on rice. We used a fair amount of salt and pepper at the table to bring up the flavor and while that helped it was clear that additional seasoning ingredients are necessary during cooking, in both quantity and variety. It was way too bland. So we did a fair amount of additional research into various recipes for Seafood Newburg. Thus, the recipe below has the changes we decided to make, both those found in different sources and our own successful changes and additions.
Do note that you can substitute three cups of cooked basmatic rice for the toast points, or, use both to get the best of both worlds!
We know you will totally enjoy this dish. It is so good it is sinful, but if you don't tell anyone we won't either!
Ingredients: (serves 4 to 6 adults)
Put the plates or wide shallow bowls you intend to use for each guest into a 180ºF warming oven.
Grill (or broil) the bread per the instructions above and put it into the warming oven.
Melt the 3/4 stick of butter for the cream sauce in a 3 quart saucepan over low heat. We use a very heavy French copper saucepan with a tin interior designed for making cream sauces, etc. It has a thick bottom and it distributes the heat from the stove very evenly to the food being cooked.
Blend the flour with the melted butter until they are well mixed and then stir in the half-and-half. Mix thoroughly over very low heat.
Put the sherry, lemon juice, salt, white pepper, cayenne pepper, curry powder, paprika and nutmeg into the saucepan while stirring.
Add the milk and continue cooking on low heat and stirring until the sauce is thickened.
Beat the egg yolks with a whisk and combine them with the 1/2 cup of heavy cream in a small bowl and mix well.
Add the egg and cream mixture to the sauce gradually, stirring constantly.
Add the grated cheeses and continue to cook, stirring, until all the ingredients are well blended and the cheese is melted. Remove the saucepan from the heat and cover it.
Gently boil the drained raw shrimp and raw lobster in a separate saucepan with the cracked peppercorns, bay leaves, one quart of water and a pinch of salt for about three minutes. Do not boil or otherwise cook lump crabmeat if you are using that instead of lobster, or the scallop pieces, for they will cook during the final heating of the cream sauce.
Add all of the seafood items to the cream sauce and mix gently.
Heat the cream sauce and seafood on low heat until it simmers for about two minutes, while stirring gently, then remove the completed Seafood Newburg from the heat.
If the sauce appears to be too thick, you can thin it with 1/3 to 1/2 cup of warmed milk and stir it until the milk is well blended into the cream sauce.
Pour the completed Seafood Newburg into a three quart serving bowl, cover it and keep it in the warming oven until it is served.
Serve the completed Seafood Newburg on the "grilled in garlic butter" (or broiled) French or Italian bread pieces, four half pieces per guest, using the pre-warmed plates or wide shallow bowls. If you decided to make the basmatic rice as well, put a small mound of it in the center of each plate or bowl and circle the rice with the grilled garlic bread pieces, then cover them with the creamy Seafood Newburg mixture.
The Complete Banquet Variation:
Janet and I discussed what we would serve before, along with the Seafood Newburg, and afterwards to create an unforgettable banquet for guests. We especially considered the balancing of colors, tastes and textures to complement the Seafood Newburg, which is a very creamy, filling entree´.
Melon (very ripe cold cantaloupe pieces) wrapped with Proscuitto Ham is served as an appetizer along with small chilled glasses of Rose´ D´Anjou wine. Avoid serving crackers or other crunchy snacks so as to keep the guests' appetites piqued.
Make Ray's Oriental Salad (well in advance) to serve as the first course of the meal. Avoid serving bread or crackers as the salad has crushed Ramen noodles and toasted almond slices in it to provide crunch. Wait until the guests have completed the salad course before serving the Seafood Newburg.
For beverages serve ice water with ice cubes or crushed ice and with fresh lemon slices lightly squeezed with one placed in each glass, along with a good bottle or two of chilled Pinot Grigio or a French white burgundy wine like Louis Jadot® Pouille Fuisse´. Allow one bottle for every three guests.
Serve the Seafood Newburg over the grilled bread pieces. Allow ten minutes after the meal for table conversation and to allow the meal to settle before serving dessert to your guests.
For dessert, keep things light to clear the palate. Serve Raspberry Sherbet (The recipe is in Food Nirvana under Frozen Desserts). Some guests may also want a cup of hot, freshly brewed coffee to accompany the sherbet.
After dinner serve small glasses of Chambord® liquor in the family or sitting room. Don't be surprised if some of your guests fade into taking a short nap after enjoying the banquet!