Sunday, August 23, 2009

Homage to Julia Child - Oeufs en Croustades a la Béarnaise

There is really not a whole lot to say about this, except that I love poached eggs, I love toasty bread and I loved the movie, Julie & Julia. Since I have a copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, I went through the egg (oeuf) recipes. This one caught my eye... Although Julia's original recipe calls for a Béarnaise, my favorite sauce is Hollandaise. And Julia was very fond of changing her recipes. The book even offers myriad of combinations. So, in the spirit of Julia and all things improvised.....

Oeufs en Croustades a la Hollandaise

First the Sauce Hollandaise

OK, I need to be honest, this is not Julia's recipe, this is the way that I usually make it, because it seems to work best for me. It is slightly different than the 1/2 batch that I made for my Eggs Benedict Pizza. I do not normally use clarified butter, I use butter chunks, because they melt slowly, thus controlling the rate of liquid butter being added to the sauce and preventing 'breakage'.

1/4 cup Egg Yolks - This is approximately 3 - 4 Large Egg yolks (If 4 is a little over 1/4 cup, just use the 14 TB of butter)
1/4 tsp Sugar
1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
Pinch of Cayenne Pepper -or- a Dash of Tobasco
12 - 14 TB Unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1 TB freshly squeezed Lemon Juice

Bring water to a simmer in a small sauce pan.

Whisk yolks, sugar, salt, and cayenne together.

Move everything to a stainless steel bowl and whisk until the yolk begin to pale & thicken slightly.

Place the bowl over barely simmering water and continue whisking until the mixture becomes smooth, creamy and thick enough to leave a clear line on the back of a spoon (Trace, in Soap-makers terms)

Do not heat the yolk mixture too much or you will end up with scrambled eggs; the proteins will re-bond with each other if the yolks get too hot.

Remove from heat and begin adding the butter 1 piece at a time, continuing to whisk until the butter has completely melted and emulsified before adding the next piece.

If your sauce begins to cool to the point that the butter is having difficulty melting and incorporating you can return the bowl briefly to the simmering water to warm the sauce again.

When all the butter has been added and the sauce is smooth, whisk in the lemon juice to loosen the sauce a little.

Place the sauce in a thermal carafe to keep it warm.

And unused sauce can be placed in a small bowl and refrigerated for up to 2 days, with Plastic wrap on the surface to prevent crusting.

Simply re-warm the sauce over gently simmering water, whisking constantly.

Toasts and the Poached Eggs
The above Hollandaise recipe is enough for 8 toasts and eggs, but since this was a late lunch for me, I made 3 for myself, and thankfully had hollandaise left over. Cause when it's cold, I like to spread it on toasted bread, instead of butter. I am only going to touch lightly on the poaching of eggs. I covered the process better in my Eggs Benedict Pizza post so I didn't take many pictures this time. Although the timing is important here as you want the toast to come out of the oven just after the the eggs are finished poaching and have drained slightly. So...

Place 2 inches of water in a saute pan or a deep skillet, add 1/4 cup vinegar and a pinch of salt, placing it over medium heat and bring to a simmer.

Crack eggs into little ramekins so they can be eased into the water; set aside and let them warm up a little to room temp.(I am using Jumbo eggs I picked up when I was on my way to Julian last weekend)... The one on the left is a large egg from Trader Joe's for comparison.

And how awesome!!! I got a double yolker!!!

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Slice bread about 1 inch thick.

Julia removes the crust, so I did.

Using a fork, scrape out a hallow, stopping about 1/2 inch into the bread.

Brush all over with olive oil.

When the oven is heated and the water is simmering, place the bread in the oven for 8 -10 minutes.

Slide the eggs into the simmering water.
When the whites of the eggs are set, remove from water with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels to drain slightly. Seasoning with salt and pepper to taste

Remove toasts from the oven and place on the serving plate, very carefully tucking an egg into the hallow. (I almost broke the middle one)

Pour or spoon Hollandaise over the top and garnish with paprika if desired. I was too hungry to bother....

I just dug into that golden deliciousness.



Patti T. said...

This made me so hungry, that I ordered it for dinner last night, well I actually ordered Eggs Benedict, your eggs were cooked much better than the ones I got.

Michele said...


Bob said...

Oh man. Man man man. Poached eggs are the bomb, look at that yolk! I wish my girlfriend would eat Hollandaise, but it's too rich for her. And if I make it for just myself then I'll wind up eating it all! Heh.

Danielle said...

hahaha i had eggs benedict for breakfast this morning (I have proof...its all over my shirt!). I'm really liking the toast! and nice twins there! :)