The above dish, sauerkraut and sturgeon on phyllo, topped with a white wine sabayon and caviar, is a signature dish of a chef I’m working with now, and what I’m calling attention to here is the sabayon. It is of course a derivative of the Hollandaise sauce, an emulsified butter sauce, flavored by lemon, one of the classic mother sauces. My favorite kind of cooking–classical French: egg yolk, butter, and lemon.
For me this sauce, the Hollandaise, or the sabayon, or the Bearnaise is all about the egg. The egg helps to form an emulsion (a thick mayonnaise-like consistency of oil and liquid), it thickens the sauce, and enriches the sauce.
As I’ve long said, the egg is a miracle. A miracle of economy and deliciousness, elegance and simplicity, and of extraordinary functionality. I wrote a whole book about it. And in the podcast today we talk with three culinary powerhouses, Eric Ripert, chef of Le Bernardin in NYC, Kenny Lopez-Alt, author-cook-chef (his great book The Food Lab, his restaurant: Wursthall), and my dear friend and colleague and co-author Brian Polcyn. Each offer their thoughts on the egg, their stories of early failures the Hollandaise brought upon them.
Hope you’ll listen to the new podcast, “From Scratch with Michael Ruhlman,” and this week’s topic, the egg. Pertinent links below.
Here are he pertinent links:
My favorite pan, hands down, The All-Clad Saucier. (Unpaid endorsement! I love the pan. That and and old cast iron skillet is all I need.)
Kenji Lopez-Alt’s best egg experiment in the history of the universe (seriously): Nytimes.
Kenji’s invaluable book, The Food Lab
Eric Ripert’s Memoir, 32 Yolks.
Brian Polcyn’s (and my) Pate, Confit, Rillettes.
I googled Hollandaise recipes and they’re all across the board. Here’s how Brian made is on the show.
He put 2 egg yolks in a sloping sided bowl with a 2 teaspoons of lemon juice (add 1/2 teaspoon water to this). He then put the pan/bowl into simmering water and whipped the eggs till they fell in loose ribbons from the whip. He then slowly added 6 ounces of melted butter in a thin stream into the fluffy eggs. Just a few drops to start then in a steady stream. Add 1/4 teaspoon cayenne. Then, taste! Evaluate. Want more lemon? Add it. Need more salt, add it. A tad more spice? Add more cayenne.
What to do with this concoction besides eat it moaningly with a spoon? Put it over poached eggs! Or on green vegetable. Put it on a sandwich! It’s not one of the oldest sauces on recored for no reason.
I go into all this in my new book From Scratch, as well as so many other things.
Thank you Eric, Kenji, and Brian! And Jonathan Dressler, ace prodcast producer.