When Life Gives You Hollandaise, Make Angel Food Cake

June 4, 2009 at 8:46 am

Rob Gardner

Or put it this way, which comes first, the egg yolk or the egg white? 

Before getting to the problem at hand, let me say that the Local Family ate very, very well last night.  Because of various schedule conflicts, the Local Grandparents made a mid-week dinner visit, and we put out a spread more suitable to a Friday night.  From Freddy’s house-made prosciutto (not La Quercia, but pretty darn good) to house-made Assyrian thick cream called gamour from a place called Eastern Breadstone Bakery on Devon, and a whole poached lake trout from Robert’s (also of Devon) in between, it was an around tasty fete.  Still, big fish though there was, the dinner was all about eggs.

Oddly, the eggy motivation came not from this week’s poached fish, but last week’s roasted fish.  No, let put it a better way.  Last week, I roasted fish (for fifty instead of six), and decided that I could not serve roasted fish and roasted asparagus.  Yet, if I was going to serve boiled asparagus, I needed a sauce.  A sauce that relies on a special kitchen skill I have: smooth talking my wife.  She agreed to make Hollandaise for fifty.  It almost came out.  In fact the first batch was just fine, but between a bad choice for warming thermos and a slightly over-heated pan, it did not quite work the way we wanted.  A week later, she had no such problems, and made a textbook emulsion of butter, eggs, and lemon.

All that Hollandaise left her, and I would not be so presumptuous to say left us, left her with a whole  lot of egg whites.  And like I say, when life gives you Hollandaise, life gives you a lot of egg whites to use.  She put those to work in an angel food cake that came out about as good as any angel food cake I’ve every had.  Not dry.  Not plain either, with an almost caramel like crust.  It only got better when she ladled on her rhubarb compote, and if that was not enough, drizzled on the gamour.  So, in this case the egg yolks did come first.

Now that we answered that, let me give you a brief, brief on the poached fish.  When I was picking up the eight nice piece of whitefish, whitefish from Robert’s last week, I got enamored with a whole lake trout there.  I got the idea that I could poach it up almost like a salmon as trout and salmon are related species.   To facilitate, Arturo gladly provides a collection of fish bones for a fumet or fish stock.  I made the stock with those bones, about 2/3rds of a bottle of white wine, two large carrots roughly chopped, parsley stems, tarragon leaves, some thyme, a red pepper (dried), a red onion, quartered, peppercorns,  and a clove of garlic.   I do not add any salt until the stock is finished.  Cover by a few inches with cold water.  Get to a boil, skim the scum, then simmer.  Instead of straining into another pot, I just fished out the fish with a spider.  Left the veg in and poached the trout after adding the salt.  For poached fish, keep the water well below boil.  Serve with Hollandaise if ya got it.