Christmas Eve was coming up quickly, and I was cooking for the DiRusso sisters. It was Feast of the Seven Fishes, an old Italian-American tradition of eating fish and other seafood in celebration of Christ’s birth. I was cooking in a competitive environment, so lobster was certain (witness last year’s Lobster Arancini, or the Lobster Ravioli the prior year).
I took it down a notch by not making it all lobster, but seafood newburg would be great – a bit lower cost (scallops were only $16/lb while lobster meat was $40/lb. Shrimp a relatively sane $7/lb). And I’d deal with three fishes right off the bat!
I searched the web for recipes, and found a couple to be just unimaginative or otherwise lacking, but then ran into the recipe from the January 1991 issue of Gourmet magazine, courtesy of Epicurious if you’d like the original recipe, or herewith, mine:
2 lobsters, steamed shelled, 1″ cubes
.75# sea scallops, tendons removed – if larger than 1″, halve
1# shrimp, thawed, deveined, tails and shells removed
5T medium-dry Sherry
3 cups heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
cayenne to taste
8 large egg yolks, beaten well
Puff pastry shells
phyllo pastry cups
In a heavy saucepan at medium heat, melt the butter and add the scallops and shrimp. When the scallops are opaque and the shrimp just turning pink, add the lobster and finish cooking the shrimp and scallops.
Add 4T of Sherry and 6T of brandy, and cook the mixture for two minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the seafood to a warm plate. Add the cream to the sherry mixture and boil gently until reduced to about two cups. Reduce the heat to low, then add remaining sherry and brandy, the nutmeg, cayenne, and salt to taste.
Whisk in the egg yolks and slowly cook the mixture, whisking constantly, until it reads 140°F, then cook, whisking constantly, for three more minutes.
Stir in the seafood, and serve seafood Newburg over the pastry shells or cups.