Tuesday, May 13, 2014


In discussion recently one of the well-known stand-bys of suburban cuisine came up, as such things are wont to do. My friend opined that it was damned well inedible, indigestible, and indescribable.
By which I think he meant 'awful'.

He was wrong on that last point.

"Water, soybean oil, vinegar, sugar, modified corn starch, eggs. Ingredients making up less than 2% of product include salt, mustard flour, paprika, spice, natural flavor, potassium sorbate, enzyme modified egg yolk, and dried garlic."

That describes it perfectly. I always add enzyme modified egg yolk and dried garlic to my condiments, don't you?

I only know all this because I was reading about Hollandaise sauce on Wikipedia. As compared to other sauces. One of which is 'miraculous'.

Hollandaise is pretty darn miraculous too.

"Hollandaise requires some skill and practice to prepare and hold. Properly made, it will be smooth and creamy with no hint of separation. The flavor will be rich and buttery, with a mild tang from the lemon juice. It is best prepared and served warm, but not hot. There are several methods for preparing a hollandaise sauce. All methods require near-constant agitation, usually with a wire whisk."

"One family of methods involves acidifying the egg yolks to aid in the formation of an emulsion, either with lemon juice or vinegar. Escoffier uses a reduction of vinegar and water. Others use lemon juice or sherry. The acidified yolks are whisked gently over simmering water until they thicken and lighten in color (144 °F/62 °C). Then, as with a mayonnaise, the emulsion is formed by very slowly whisking melted butter into it. Use of clarified butter is common."

[Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hollandaise.]

What spiked my curiosity was Eggs Sardou, a Louisiana Creole dish of poached egg on top of creamed spinach, glooped with Hollandaise.

Hollandaise is a basic building block of French cooking, and instrumental in some of the finest heart attacks. All that fabulous butter!

"The most common derivative is Sauce Béarnaise. It can be produced by replacing the acidifying agent (vinegar reduction or lemon juice) in a preparation with a strained reduction of vinegar, shallots, fresh chervil, fresh tarragon and (if to taste) crushed peppercorns. Alternatively, the flavorings may be added to a standard hollandaise. Béarnaise and its children are often used on steak or other "assertive" grilled meats and fish."

[See previously cited Wikipedia article.]

Off the shelf Béarnaise, found in supermarkets, is usually a version made with mayonnaise instead of Hollandaise, because butter stiffens up in the refrigerator, much like cholesterol in arteries.

Real Béarnaise is fabulous on French Fries, especially with some sweet'n spicy barbecue sauce and Sriracha hotsauce. I suppose if you served it with creamed spinach and a poached egg you could call it "cuisine".
It sounds absolutely fabulous.

Don't forget to add the enzyme modified egg yolk and dried garlic.
Plus chopped smoked bacon to garnish.
And a sprig cilantro.

"If wine is to be served, it should be white, preferably a slightly sweet white wine."

I would suggest Château d'Yquem.

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