Fresh Scottish Lobster
My mum remembers being treated to freshly cooked lobster served with hot melted butter on her sixteenth birthday; my grandmother used to buy fresh lobster straight from the quayside in Sunderland, where they cost only a few pennies each – they were certainly not just for the wealthy and rich, as they are now, but just like our native oysters, they were poor man’s meat. I have been lucky enough to indulge on fresh lobster several times over the last year – first in Newfoundland last May, then on Singapore Airlines in Business Class as part of their Book the Cook menu scheme, when I was a guest on-board Celebrity Cruises Equinox and also more recently at the Ballymaloe Food and Lit Festival earlier this year. It’s my favourite shellfish, so when George Hughes, an on-line Scottish fish monger asked if I would like to try some of his fresh Scottish Lobster, I was delighted to accept his kind offer! And, as the lobster was delivered to me when I was in Yorkshire, and had to be shared between me and my parents, I decided to make a light luncheon classic, Lobster Newberg, in an attempt to eke the lobster meat out between us!
Lobster Newberg is an American classic made from lobster tail, cream, egg yolks, sherry (or Cognac and Madeira), cream, butter and with cayenne pepper. The recipe is attributed to a sea-captain called Ben Wenberg. He demonstrated his recipe at Delmonico’s Restaurant in New York in 1876, and the manager Charles Delmonico loved the recipe so much, he added it to his menu and named it Lobster a la Wenberg. Unfortunately, the pair had a falling out and the dish was removed from the menu, but so popular was it with the patrons of the restaurant that it was reinstated under the new name of Lobster a la Newberg, which of course, is an anagram of the original name, Wenberg. It’s a recipe that I have made and enjoyed over the years, when I was lucky enough to have lobster at my disposal, and was the perfect dish to make with the magnificent fresh Scottish lobster I was sent from George Hughes.
The original recipe calls for the inclusion of egg yolks, but in an attempt the lighten the very rich sauce, I omitted them and just added cream to base of my sauce. I served it on two small circles of buttered toast with a side garnish of seasonal salad leaves and a lemon wedge. The lobster was sweet and firm with a nutty flavour, and had been sent to me (along with some halibut steaks) in a well insulated container with ice packs, so both the lobster and the fish arrived in prime condition. I was informed that the fish could be frozen, so I decided to prepare the lobster first, and freeze the halibut for later delectation. I hope you will feel tempted to try this classic recipe, it’s very simple and is a worthwhile treat to serve to family and friends for a special occasion, or maybe as part of a weekend brunch. With thanks to George Hughes for sending me the lobster (and fish) and why not have a look at what else they have on offer here: Shop On-Line. See you later with a new giveaway, some more travel tales from the South of France as well as lots of new recipes. Karen