Our shrimp Newburg is our own take on this classic dish. It’s as rich and decadent, but veers towards the savory side and requires just basic ingredients.
What Is Shrimp Newburg?
Newburg is a name for the dense, rich sauce scented with sherry and with a mild kick of heat. It’s originally meant for lobsters, but it was so good that chefs started using it to cook just about anything. Its popularity is said to have begun in the 1870s, and it remains a popular dish to this day.
Seeing how the name ‘Newburg’ sounds like a location, we expanded our research to find the sauce’s origin. What we came upon wasn’t a town, but rather, an interesting story.
The Story of Captain Wenberg
There was once a sea captain named Wenburg, who apparently had a knack for cooking. One day, he came up with a delicious way to cook lobster and decided to show the idea to his pal, a restaurant owner.
His pal, having grown so fond of the dish, had his chefs tweak the formula and, later, put it on the menu as ‘Lobster à la Wenberg’, giving full credit to its creator. It didn’t take long before the dish became the restaurant’s best seller.
The captain, however, felt angry, perhaps because of his friend putting up the creation for sale without his consent. A fight ensued and the restaurant manager had to cross the dish off the restaurant’s menu. The restaurant’s regulars, obviously, didn’t like this and continued demanding their usual order. The manager couldn’t say no to his customers but didn’t wish for any further trouble with captain Wenberg.
As a result, he decided to put it up for sale once more, but under a different name, and so the captain’s invention forever belonged to him. Thus, ‘Lobster Newberg’ was born.
How the Dish Is Typically Made
The dish’s impeccable cooking process is probably what makes it so in demand.
After a full 25-minute boil, the fully -cooked lobster is partially fried in butter and garlic, until it becomes very fragrant. Milk and cream are then added and simmered to reduce, before Sherry or Madeira is added and the mixture is reduced by half once more, over high heat. As the sauce reaches a desired consistency, the chef turns off the heat and leaves it to cool down a little for the next step.
The chef should proceed to plate the lobster, then beat a separated egg yolk into the sauce to further enrich and thicken it. They might also add a dash of cayenne, before pouring the rich, decadent sauce over the lobster.
Shrimp Newburg is prepared similarly, but without the boiling step. The shrimp should be cooked with butter and simmered in the sauce only.
Our version of shrimp Newburg, however, differs slightly in ingredients. Our sauce is still rich and flavorful, but as we are aiming for something home-kitchen friendly, it calls for more basic ingredients.
Our Version of Shrimp Newburg
Our sauce starts out with butter, garlic, cream, and milk, but the next ingredient is neither sherry nor egg yolk.
We use lemon juice in place of sherry, which acts as a great odor neutralizer. But while sherry’s complex flavor profile was enough to create the dish’s persona, lemon juice’s simplicity doesn’t quite compare. We considered Worcestershire sauce and ketchup to complete the picture, and they are indeed the perfect pairings.
Another difference is that our sauce is thickened with all-purpose flour. It might not enrich the sauce like an egg yolk would, but it surely comes in handy if you run out of eggs.
The mushrooms are also another addition of ours, going very well with the savory, rich sauce. We serve the dish over some cooked rice, which you can replace with cooked pasta if you prefer.
Again, here’s how the dish is made:
Melt butter and cook the shrimp in it.
Add the sauce ingredients in, stir, and allow everything to reduce to your desired thickness.
In comparison to the original recipe, our shrimp Newburg sees a significant reduction in fat because it has no egg yolk and uses less milk and cream. Both this and the fact that it calls for no alcohol significantly reduce the dish’s calorie content.
To make the shrimp more satisfying and fulfilling, we serve it with cooked rice, a fresh beet and feta cheese salad on the side, and a glass of lime juice. They contribute some carbs, micronutrients, fiber, all are necessary for the body’s growth.
Tuyet Pham is an award-winning Saigonese chef who believes that joy is the secret ingredient to delicious food. At Healthy Recipes 101, Tuyet personally tests and simplifies every recipe, ensuring maximum flavor with minimal effort. With a background at prestigious French restaurants P’TI Saigon and Le Corto, Tuyet knows how to make every dish exceptional.
Luna Regina is an accomplished writer and author who dedicates her career to empowering home cooks and making cooking effortless for everyone. She is the founder of HealthyKitchen101.com and HealthyRecipes101.com, where she works with her team to develop easy, nutritious recipes and help aspiring cooks choose the right kitchen appliances.
Natalie Butler is a registered dietitian nutritionist with a passion to help others live their best life through food, fitness, safer beauty and a healthy lifestyle. She has expertise with a variety of diets and diseases and believes that there is no one-size-fits-all approach for health.
Nice variety! I am grabbing my spoon and coming over!