Hollandaise: Molecular Gastronomy / BETH has VD
Hollandaise: A creamy and bright sauce normally served with the delightful Eggs Benedict or on asparagus. I could eat my own fists if they were covered in the stuff, and adding a little ganja to the mix just prolongs the pleasure set in by rich pairing of sweet butter and the wonderful acidic bite of lemon juice! Learn how to poach eggs a few eggs and start your day off right, especially if you're rocking out a breakfast for an evening guest that you might want to stick around for another dinner!
First term of culinary school, 19 years old. My instructor began with the basics, knife skills, basic technique and of course the Mother Sauces. Over the course of the next few months, my peers and I took turns messing up plenty of good foods in the name of higher learning. Burned, over salted, under seasoned, and poorly executed dishes were common. Almost every plate looked like it was crafted by the finest preteen "chef" trying to impress his first girlfriend. (Yeah... I was that preteen "chef." At one point, I managed to burn the outside of a chicken breast, while the center was raw and the whole thing tasted like hot dogs. It's a secret recipe... Don't ask.) Anyway, we had potential but those rough edges were really rough.
Now right about this time the term "Molecular Gastronomy" was coined. Molecular Gastronomy (or as I love to call it, tech food) has a special emphasis on textures and the vehicle chefs use to achieve such things as melon caviar, peanut butter powder and carrot foams are chemicals like Sodium Alginate, Versawhip, Maltodextrin and a variety of chloride salts. While I was interested in learning how to cook, I was far more excited about playing the roll of a mad scientist... After getting into some restaurants I had to revisit some of the basics.
Not Hollandaise though.
The fantastic texture of this decadent sauce is the direct result of suspending oil and water in the same mixture. Most of us are aware that those two things don't really work too well with one another, so we have to use a special chemical to bind the two. In this case, the chemical is lecithin and is found naturally in egg yolks and to smaller degrees in mustard. The molecule sort of looks like a balloon on a string, the balloon itself containing a positive charge while the string is neutral. Water sticks to the balloon while the oil sticks to the tail. If we incorporate those three in a gentle way, our wizard powers will lead us into the world of emulsification.
TL;DR: Hollandaise is against nature and probably should be feared.
With my interest in all things geek food, and unlike most basic technique I nailed it and my confidence was soaring next to the few bowls puddled with a soupy and thin broken mixture wishing to eventually become the great Hollandaise. I felt like I achieved rank in some secret society that exact moment. Which was a nice offset because the red wine, cinnamon and mushroom dish I made the week before was pretty freaking terrible.
Who is Beth and why would we at the Hashslinger Hemp Cookery insult her publicly?
Traditional French Cookery revolves around fairly simple concepts and are built upon based upon their best application. In this case, those concepts are the "mother sauces." Bechamel, Espagnole, Tomato, Hollandaise, Veloute and Demi Glace. Take those initials and as it happens, BETHVD is spelled.
Hope you learned a ton and have a blast whipping up this stellar sauce!
- Hempcook Aaron