With Spring springing everywhere and beautiful, fresh new vegetables available in a colorful array at Farmer's Markets in many parts of the world, I thought I would present a decadent sauce to go with those vegetables.
The so called mother sauces of French cuisine. It's called the "mother" of sauces simply because it is often used as a basis from which other sauces are derived. I am talking about the rich, creamy and luxurious sauce Hollandaise.
After tackling the Chocolate Crepe Cake I need to carry my nerves further to the edge and dared to make a sauce that will not accept if you step out of line with it - do and watch it backfire on you. This sauce needs love, caressing and non-stop whisking for it to reward you with it's decadent delicious taste.
I'd like to send this one to the ever so lovely Barbara of Winos and Foodies. She created an event that really touched my heart and once again showed me how we food bloggers stick together through thick and thin, wok and pan, asparagus and zucchini! Barbara, whose life has been effected by cancer and is battling it with a respect and boldness that makes me feel so very humble in comparison. Her wonderful event A Taste of Yellow calls upon all of us Bloggers to contribute a yellow dish to show our support for Lance Armstrong's Foundation Livestrong. I have had no experience with cancer and no one close to me has been effected by it. Does this make me ignorant to it? No, because I would like to show my support and help those who are. Some run a marathon to show their support, I as a Foodie would like to show my support by blogging about it and raising awareness for Barbara's efforts.
You'll find an incredible 148 entries in the A Taste of Yellow roundup.
Hollandaise means Holland-style. The sauce is made by continuously whisking and heating egg yolks, lemon juice, and some water, then slowly blending in butter until a creamy and rich sauce is produced. Seasoned, it pairs perfectly with vegetables the best, but also eggs, meat and fish.
Many historians agree that the original recipe for the sauce actually originated in Normandy, France. A place well-known for its butter and use of butter in cooking. It was first known as Sauce Isigny, after the town of Isigny in Normandy. The recipe can be found in recipe books dating from the 1800s. One theory for the renaming to sauce Hollandaise seems to be that during the first World War, little butter was produced in France and had to be imported from Holland. The name was changed to hollandaise to indicate the source of the butter and was never changed back.
As always my recipe has a slightly different twist to it. I add a few finely chopped shallots and green peppercorns.
More about Sauce Hollandaise on Wikipedia
Other methods of preparing sauce Hollandaise.
Come celebrate Spring with me. This month Spring Is In The Air.
Deadline: May 09, 2007!
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250g butter - at room temperature and cut into pieces
1 shallot - finely chopped
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
4 green peppercorns - crushed in a mortar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 egg yolks - preferably Grade A and organic
Salt and white pepper
You will need a double boiler or prepare your own water bath for this. Select a metal bowl and a pot in which the metal bowl can rest firmly on. Fill the pot with enough water so that it does not touch the metal bowl when it is placed on top of it. The water needs to be heated to 60-70 degrees Celsius - not more or else you'll get scrambled eggs.
At a low heat melt the butter in a pot, making sure not to brown. Take the pot off the and allow the butter to cool slightly.
In a separate pot cook vinegar, 2 tablespoons water, peppercorns and shallots for a few minutes. Do not brown. Sieve through a fine meshed sieve into the metal bowl. Add the yolks and an additional 1 tablespoon of water. Whisk together to combine.
Place the metal bowl on your heated water bath and whisk continuously and vigorously for a few minutes until a thick and creamy texture is produced. Using an electric blender for this is NOT a good idea and you really have to rely on old fashioned elbow grease for the best results.
Remove from water bath and keep beating for another half a minute.
Drop by drop add the butter to the egg mixture beating continuously. Eventually add the butter in a steady stream to the tempered egg mixture, whisking all the time.
Add lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately and warm - not hot. If the sauce is not served immediately it becomes firm as it starts to cool.
Tips and Tricks:
- The melted butter and the egg yolk cream need to have the same temperature, otherwise it will coagulate. Should this happen add some cold water - drop wise - into the mixture, gently whisking it.
- As Hollandaise is an emulsified sauce it is vital to maintain the emulsion. This means the blending of oil or another form of fat and a water based liquid, where tiny droplets of the one are dispersed in the other. But fat and water do not mix and once they are brought together they exert a lot of energy to revert back into their original components by separating. If they do the sauce has then "broken." To avoid this you have to make sure that you add water, the butter is added gradually, there is limited heat and non-stop whisking.
- Using clarified or whole butter depends on the texture and taste of the sauce you would like to have. Clarified butter will get you a thicker and richer sauce than whole butter because it contains pure butterfat. Whole butter has a certain percentage of water in it, which will give you a thinner sauce. However, the water in whole butter helps to optimize the emulsification and as it also contains milk solids, it will give your sauce more flavor. If you do want to use clarified butter you will need to compensate with more water at the beginning of the instructions when the eggs are mixed in.
Smooth, creamy, silky and just slightly tart. During this time of year we are forever eating a variety of fresh vegetables, cooked quickly by either roasting or steaming. Sometimes we just like to be a bit decadent and indulge in this rich creamy sauce. Poured over vegetables like asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower or artichokes, dinner time becomes so Oh! la la! OK, it is not kind to the waistline but hey once in a while we need a sin or two right?
Next week I'll show you how I used this Hollandaise in my own recipe for the MM event Spring Is In The Air.
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