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Friday, November 26, 2010
Filet of Sole Princess
Filet of sole princess is a favorite of the ladies!
Filet of sole princess is a simplified recipe of sorts. A true princess preparation is a bit more complicated than the modern a la princess preparation. The classic Veal Princess entree is where this filet of sole princess recipe originates. Nearly every modern chef prepares veal or sole princess with a hollandaise sauce. White asparagus is preferred, but I have served this recipe with green or purple asparagus too.
Yacht club menus usually offer a few entrees that have hollandaise in the recipe. If you have one item on a menu that calls for hollandaise, then it is best to offer a few more hollandaise entrees on that menu. By having three or four hollandaise entrees on the menu, the hollandaise sauce can be made in batches. Bearnaise sauce for filet mignon, bearnaise sauce or hollandaise for veal oscar, hollandaise sauce for filet of sole princess and choron sauce for soft shell crab were the yacht club menu entrees that required the hollandaise French mother sauce.
Part of my job as a saucier and saute chef was to take a look at the evening reservations and then estimate how many portions of hollandaise would be needed for the evening rush of business. Part of that estimation included the captain's meal, the manager's meal and for the customers who wanted some hollandaise sauce set at the table in a sauce boat. Being accurate with estimating does come with experience. I happen to be very accurate at estimating how much food is needed for a shift or an event.
If the hollandaise runs out during serving hours, then the two choices are to make a small batch of hollandaise or to make the sauce to order. If there is leftover hollandaise sauce at the end of the night, then the sauce is refrigerated till the next day.
Hollandaise cannot be saved as is. When hollandaise is refrigerated, it becomes solid. The butter can be extracted after refrigeration by heating the hollandaise in a sauce pot over medium heat. When the butter separates to the top of the sauce pot, then the butter is poured off into a container and the solids in the pot are discarded. Extracting the butter is the only thing that can be done with leftover hollandaise. The extracted butter from chilled hollandaise is then best used for flavoring vegetables.
Hollandaise Sauce Recipe:
Melt 4 ounces of unsalted butter in a small sauce pot over medium heat.
Cook the butter, till the milk fats evaporate and till the butter gives off a light hazelnut aroma.
Take the pan off of the heat.
Clarify the butter by pouring it through a fine mesh strainer into a second small sauce pot and leave the butter solids on the bottom of the first pot.
Discard the browned butter milk fat solids.
Keep the clarified butter warm over very low heat.
Place 2 egg yolks into a small mixing bowl.
Add 1 teaspoon of warm water to the egg yolks while stirring.
Note: Add about a 1/2 teaspoon of warm water per egg yolk. This will make the eggs yolks easy to control while whisking. The small amount of water will keep the egg yolks from cooking unevenly. Too much water added to the yolks will later cause the whisking process to take way too much time. Do not add lemon juice in the beginning of a hollandaise sauce recipe! The sauce will be disproportionately lemon flavored if you do so. That is the mistake that most inexperienced chefs make.
Whisk the egg yolks in a mixing bowl over a double boiler set on medium low/low heat.
Constantly whisk, non stop, till the egg yolks souffle (puff up) and ribbons appear in the thick foamy pale colored egg yolks from the whisk. The egg yolks will become a pale yellow color at this time.
Remove the mixing bowl from the double boiler and immediately whisk the eggs while slowly adding the warm butter one teaspoon at a time, till the eggs start "grabbing" the butter.
Return the start of the hollandaise to the double boiler. (You can not stop whisking at this point or the egg yolks will sieze!)
Slowly thin stream the melted butter into the egg yolks while whisking constantly, till the egg yolk sauce is formed. (The correct proportion of butter to eggs is 1 1/2 ounces of butter to one egg yolk!)
Remove the mixing bowl from the double boiler.
Add 1 small squeeze of lemon juice.
Add 1 pinch of white pepper.
Add 1 pinch of cayenne pepper.
Add 1 pinch of sea salt.
The sauce should have a hint of lemon flavor and it should not taste like a lemon sauce. The sauce should be rich and it should have a medium consistency. The hazelnut aroma of the clarified butter is the key flavor! The cayenne pepper flavor should be barely noticeable.
Place the hollandaise sauce into a small ceramic bowl.
Set the bowl in a bain marie that is set on very low heat to keep it warm. (The bain marie temperature should be about 115 to 120 degrees. Hollandaise will break and separate at the proper serve safe holding temperature of 140 degrees.)
Stir the sauce occasionally.
Hollandaise is a French mother sauce that is used for hundreds of recipes. The basic hollandaise recipe never changes!
Filet of Sole Princess:
Peel and trim 5 white asparagus spears. The spears should be 4 to 5 inches long. Only peel the asparagus spears if they are wide and have tough skins.
Cut 1 filet of sole portion. Two small sole filets are a nice portion. The filet of sole portion size should be 6 to 8 ounces.
Heat a saute pan over medium/medium high heat.
Add 1 splash of olive oil.
Add 3 pats of unsalted butter.
Dredge sole filets in flour.
Dip the sole filets in egg wash.
Dredge the sole filets lightly in the flour once again.
Add the filets to the pan.
Saute the sole filets, till they become a golden color on the bottom half.
Flip the filets in the pan with a spatula.
Saute the filets, till they becomes golden colored on both halves.
Season with sea salt and white pepper.
Add about 3/4 cup of dry white wine.
Add 1/4 cup of clear light whitefish fume. (Clear white fish broth)
Add 1 squeeze of lemon juice.
Add the white asparagus spears.
Reduce the temperature to medium/medium low heat.
Cook the white asparagus spears in the pan juices.
Simmer till the white asparagus spears are cooked al dente and till the wine sauce is nearly completely reduced.
Place the sole filets on a plate.
Place the white asparagus spears on top of the sole filets, so that the spears resemble the points on a royal crown.
Spoon the hollandaise sauce over the asparagus spear stalks and sole filets.
Serve with a vegetable and a potato of your choice.
I served the filet of sole princess in the pictures with a boiled and buttered Yukon Gold, Yukon Bliss and Purple Peru potato medley. Braised kale leaf seasoned with unsalted butter, sea salt and black pepper was set on the plate too. A baked tomato that was topped with a light sprinkle of white cheddar cheese and yellow cheddar was also placed on a dill sprig bed on the plate.
The flavors of this entree are very light and elegant, yet rich enough to be quite appealing. The simple presentation of sole princess has a nice eye appeal too. Delicious! ... Shawna