Posted by johngl
Duck eggs are a real treat for me, so when I have some on hand, I tend to go a little nuts. Given the results of yesterday’s breakfast, I was looking for recipes where I could substitute duck eggs.
I’m also conducting an experiment with wet aging beef. Since I am a hard-core dry aging fan, this is quite a test.
So, why not combine the two?
This worked out pretty well.
Above is a shot of the girdled tournedos that I cut from the two week wet-aged whole tenderloin. This is the easiest aging method ever — pop the cryovac back in the fridge and do nothing.
Early yesterday afternoon, I cut open the bag expecting to catch a whiff of something unsavory, but it smelled almost like a fresh one with just a hint of what I will call funk. I seasoned them with salt and pepper and popped them on a wire rack and put them in my wine cellar so they could slowly come up to temp.
About 4 hours later, it was time for dinner. Checking the temp on the meat, I found it to be just shy of the desired 60°F. Perfect. I just set them out on the counter and went about the rest of the prep work.
On the asparagus, I cut off about an inch of the dry end, then peeled the bottom third of the stalk to remove the fibrous skin. I then put about two ounces of water in a plastic tub, added the asparagus, sprinkled on some salt and broke up a few pats of butter on top. The lid went back on the plastic container and I put in the microwave so it was ready to go later.
Then I prepped for the hollandaise.
This is a couple of duck egg yolks along with a tablespoon of ice water. These get whisked together into an emulsion.
I also squeezed an ounce of fresh lemon juice and added enough piquin juice (vodka steeped chile piquin peppers) to give the hollandaise some bite.
Hollandaise is really easy to make and even easier to screw up. I’d never made it with duck yolks before either. I got everything ready: the pan of simmering water, the melted butter, the lemon juice and piquin juice. I was ready to go.
So, out to the grill I went with the meat. I did the usual two minutes, rotate a quarter turn, another two minutes, flip, two minutes, rotate a quarter turn, two minutes and done! thing. I tented the meat with foil and let it rest whilst I finished up.
First, I set the microwave at two minutes, but didn’t start it. I took the stainless steel bowl with the duck eggs over to the simmering water and started whisking. I added the melted butter slowly. The hollandaise thickened wonderfully, then suddenly broke. ACK! I quickly grabbed another egg yolk, whisked in some ice-cold water, and slowly added the broken hollandaise back to the new emulsion. Saved! And I only lost about two minutes.
What went wrong? I got the water too hot and I think the butter was a bit too hot as well. Anyway, it was an easy fix, so no harm done.
I finally hit the button on the microwave and set the bowl of hollandaise back over the warm water (heat turned off completely). The asparagus was perfect. Two minutes in the microwave is all it takes.
I plated the asparagus, spooned over some hollandaise, and plated the steak. I added some lavender blossoms for some flair:
The most glorious one had decanted a lovely 2001 Castillo de Fuenmayor Rioja Gran Familia Reserva a few hours earlier. This $15 wine opened up quite nicely. In spite of two years in oak, the wood wasn’t overwhelming. What came through was smoky cassis with raspberry notes. Very dry with a lot of tannin, decanting mellowed it nicely. I seem to have detected some pepper on the finish, but that may have been some steak holdovers. I will be looking to stock up on this one. It should easily stand a few years of cellaring.
How was dinner?
We spent a nice quiet evening on the back porch and as you can tell, we are charter members of the clean plate club.
For the aging (wet vs. dry) question: In a pinch, the wet-aging thing will do just fine. However, I still prefer the complexity of flavors dry-aging brings to the table.
The duck egg hollandaise was, in a word, sensational.