Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Those Dutch people make good sauce

It may look like cheez whiz, but it's not. It's a hollandaise, and the rich color is a result of Plum Creek Poultry's incredible eggs (available at the Shaker Square and Crocker Park farmers markets) with their ridiculously vibrant yolks. Who would have thought pale yolks have their place? Either that or my technique's off, which is quite possible.

The steak is from MillGate Farms (if you're at the Crocker Market Farmstead Ltd. has great grass fed beef), and it's the other part of a porterhouse that yielded the strip steak from the last post. The asparagus is is also from the Market, and cooked the same way as described in the last post (if it ain't broke . . .). These spears were Morton's sized. If you're not familiar with that reference, I don't think you're missing out, but these were some seriously huge, and seriously good, asparagus spears.

All good ingredients, but it's kind of cheating to use a hollandaise. The stuff is too good. After I finished the pictured plate it took all of my limited self control to avoid eating the leftover sauce by the spoonful. Here's the recipe:

- Egg yolks (I always use at least two--it's tricky with one. The whites freeze well.)
- Butter, pieces or melted (There are proper ratios, but I just stop adding butter when I like how it tastes. This was the previously mentioned French butter from The Cheese Shop at the West Side Market.)
- Water (you may want to thin the sauce--water works well)
- Salt and pepper
- Cayenne (just a little)
- Lemon juice, or, gasp!, vinegar (I used white wine vinegar here. Lemon juice is better, but no lemons over here today).

- I always make this in a home rigged double boiler. There are lots of other ways to make this sauce, but I've always had good luck this way.
- Bring a small pot of water to a slow simmer
- Whisk egg yolks in a stainless steel or glass bowl that will fit on top of the simmering pot (the bottom of the pan should not dip into the simmering water)
- Once yolks are whisked, place the bowl over the pot of hot water and whisk steadily until the eggs get a thicker consistency (It may be necessary to keep lifting the bowl off of the simmering water to prevent the eggs from scrambling. You may want to use a dish towel for handling the bowl. Scrambled eggs in a hollandaise is not good.)
- After the yolks have thickened start incorporating the butter piece by piece (or slowly pour in melted butter a little at a time)
- Keep whisking and don't let the eggs scramble. If using pieces of butter add a new piece just as the previous one is melting away.
- When the sauce is a good consistency and tastes about right butter-wise, season with salt and pepper, a little cayenne, and acid (citrus juice or vinegar) to taste--it doesn't take much
- That's it. It holds pretty well if kept over the pot of hot water with the flame turned off (just make sure to stir occasionally), although it may thicken up a bit after a while (just thin with water, remembering it's always easier to add more than to take extra out). It also keeps well on a stovetop that's hot from the oven being on.

It's not a tough sauce to make, and it looks much better in person.

Another angle (still looks like cheez whiz):


maybelles mom said...

forget steak houses. i am coming over to eat at your house. Looks great and local.

The CFT said...

I'll get a highchair.