Friday, May 13, 2011

Grilled Walleye Pike with Cilantro Sun Dried Tomato Hollandaise










     Sometimes I do post a very nice modern French presentation of an interesting creative entree.  Centered stack presentations are called Napoleon stacks.  Stack presentations can be very complex.  Some stack presentations are effective with well thought out flavors.  Some complicated stack presentations look like the chef should have gone to art school instead of chef school, because the flavors really did not create a thematic effect.  The simplest stack is starch, vegetable protein, sauce and garnish, just like the one in the pictures.  Every flavor and texture in a stack presentation has to compliment the featured ingredient and no flavors or textures should clash.
     I seriously doubt that any other chef has ever made this recipe.  You might say that I created this walleye pike recipe on the spur of the moment.  Walleye pike is by far the most desirable fish in the pike, muskellunge and pickerel family of fish.  Walleye pike are northern fresh water predators.  Walleye pike have a very nice rich clean tasting white meat.  Walleye pike are one of the most sought after hard fighting game fish in the Great Lakes and in lakes throughout Canada.  Many fisherman gear up specifically to catch walleye pike and nothing else.
     Walleye is always cooked with the skin on.  As with most pike there are a line of pin bones that run laterally.  Removing the bones does take a little bit of patience.
     Hollandaise is one of the French mother sauces.  Many say that both hollandaise and mayonnaise originated in Spain.  The recipe for hollandaise sauce never changes.  The flavor of hollandaise should be rich with good butter flavor and it should have a hint of lemon.  Second rate chefs add far too much lemon to a hollandaise sauce.  A perfect hollandaise should have a delicate balance of flavor.
     There are classic French names for secondary hollandaise sauces.  If here is no specific name for a flavored hollandaise, then the ingredients that are added become the prefix name.
     It does take some skill to make a perfect hollandaise sauce that can be used as a glacage without breaking.  Perhaps that is one reason why you do not see hollandaise on many menus these days.  Many chefs make hollandaise with a blender and that style of hollandaise always breaks when it is heated.  
     The main reason that hollandaise is not offered as much as it used to be, is because modern health codes require hollandaise to basically be made to order.  Hollandaise cannot be kept at a Servsafe 135º to 140º without breaking.  In restaurants, hollandaise has to be made in small batches and discarded after 45 minutes by modern health code standards.  Practice and guidance are the keys to learning how to make this sauce.  Hollandaise is a sauce that I can make blind folded.  I have made over 5,000 gallons of hollandaise sauce in my lifetime.  Practice makes perfect!
     The second reason hollandaise is not popular these days, is because the health conscious clientele will not touch hollandaise sauce.  Butter and egg yolks are not exactly a healthy combination, but if a gooseneck ramekin of hollandaise sauce is sat it in front of a health conscious person, they simply cannot resist!  Moderation and balance is the key to a healthy diet.  Hollandaise sauce is not meant to be eaten everyday.
     Minced reconstituted sun dried tomato and chopped fresh cilantro are added to the hollandaise mother sauce in this recipe.  The flavor is incredibly good with walleye pike!
     The presentation of this recipe is one that the Cordon Bleu chef schools are famous for.  A simple stack.  I will be attending the Cordon Bleu chef school in Las Vegas this fall to be accredited as a chef, even though I have over 20 years experience.  That chef certificate will be the first step to change to a career of teaching culinary arts.
     
     Classic Hollandaise Sauce:  
     On a note, in a recipe article I posted in 2013, I wrote a much easier hollandaise method that used to be taught at Le Cordon Bleu of Paris.  Today's recipe is the new La cordon Bleu method and it is the modern standard.  This is the classic original hollandaise and it is made by the old Escoffier definition.
     Melt 4 ounces of unsalted butter in a sauce pot over medium low heat.  
     Cook the butter till it turns a gold color and till it gives off a light hazelnut aroma.  The water will evaporate and the milk solids will lightly brown on the bottom of the pot, when the butter is clarified correctly.  
     Pour the butter through a fine mesh strainer and discard the milk solids on the bottom of the pan.  
     Keep the butter warm over very low heat or just set it on a stove top over an oven. 
     Place 2 egg yolks in 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 easy to control while whisking.  Too much water added will later cause the whisking process to take way too much time.  Do not add lemon juice at the beginning of making a Hollandaise Sauce.  The sauce will be disproportionately lemon flavored if you do so.  That is the mistake many chefs make.
     Whisk the egg yolk and water in a mixing bowl over a double boiler set on low heat.  
     Constantly whisk, non stop, till the egg yolks turn a pale yellow shade, till they souffle (puff up) and till ribbons appear in the egg yolks from the whisk. 
     Remove the mixing bowl from the double boiler and immediately whisk the eggs while 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 cannot stop whisking at this point!)  
     Thin stream the melted butter into the eggs while whisking, till the egg sauce is formed.  
     Note:  The proportion of butter to egg yolk is 1 1/2 to 2 ounces of butter to one egg yolk!  Many chefs say 4 ounce of butter to one egg yolk is best, but the butter flavor starts to become disproportionate and the hollandaise becomes too thin to be used for glacage applications.  When adding moist ingredients, like reconstituted sun dried tomatoes, a tight textured hollandaise is best.  A loose buttery hollandaise will become too loose!    Most chefs never weigh the butter and they just add butter, till the sauce looks right.  That is not bad!  
     Remove the mixing bowl from the double boiler and continue whisking, so the hollandaise cools evenly.
     Add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. 
     Add 1 pinch of white pepper.
     Add 1 small pinch of cayenne pepper.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt. 
     The sauce should have a hint of lemon flavor and not taste like a lemon sauce.  The cayenne pepper flavor should be barely noticeable.   
     Place the Hollandaise in a ceramic ramekin.  
     Set the ramekin in a bain marie that is set on very low heat and stir the sauce occasionally. 
     Hollandaise is a French mother sauce that is used for hundreds of recipes.  The basic hollandaise recipe never changes, unless you use the old Le Cordon bleu recipe.
     
     Cilantro Sun Dried Tomato Hollandaise:  
     Simmer two sun dried tomato halves in 1 1/2 cups water in a small sauce pot over very low heat, till they become tender.  
     Remove the reconstituted sun dried tomatoes from the water and set them on a dry towel to remove any excess water.
     Set the sun dried tomatoes on a cutting board and finely mince them.  
     Add the minced sun dried tomatoes to the reserved hollandaise sauce.  
     Add 1 teaspoon of minced cilantro leaves to the hollandaise.
     Stir the ingredients together.
     Continue to keep the cilantro sun dried tomato hollandaise warm over very low heat in a bain marie.  Stir occasionally.  
     
     Purple Potatoes:  
     Boil 4 to 5 ounces of small purple potatoes in water over high heat in a sauce pot, till they start to become tender.  
     Remove the potatoes from the water and cut each one in half.  
     Place the potatoes in a bowl.  
     Toss the potatoes with a little bit of melted unsalted butter.  
     Season with sea salt and black pepper.  
     Keep the potatoes warm on a stove top.    
     
     Green Beans:  
     Trim the ends off of 7 or 8 green beans.  
     Par boil the green beans in hot salted water over high heat, till they become cooked al dente.  
     Drain the water off of the green beans.  
     Toss the green beans with a little bit of melted unsalted butter.  
     Season with sea salt.  
     Set the green beans aside and keep them warm on a stove top.
     
     Grilled Walleye Pike:  
     Heat a cast iron ribbed griddle or char grill to a medium/medium high temperature.  
     Brush the griddle ribs with vegetable oil to season them, so the fish does not stick.  
     Cut an 8 to 10 ounce walleye pike filet in half.  Leave the skin attached.
     Cut a few very shallow cross-check slashes through the skin, so the filets do not curl.
     Brush the filets with melted unsalted butter.  
     Season the filets with sea salt and black pepper.  
     Brush the griddle lightly with oil one last time.  
     Place the walleye filet halves on the griddle with the meat side down and the skin side facing up.
     Grill the walleye filets for about a minute.  
     Flip the walleye filets over and grill the skin side.
     Grill both sides of each filet twice, for just a minute or so.  Walleye filets are usually not too thick and the meat cooks quickly.  
     When the grilled walleye becomes fully cooked, set the filets on a wire screen roasting rack to let them rest while the serving plate is being set.
     
     Grilled Walleye Pike with Cilantro Sun Dried Tomato Hollandaise:  
     Place the purple potato halves together on the center of a plate, so the cover an area that is the same size as the walleye filets.  
     Place the green beans on top of the potatoes.
     Criss-cross the grilled walleye filet halves on top of each other on the stack.  
     Generously spoon the cilantro sun dried tomato hollandaise over the grilled walleye.
     Garnish the hollandaise sauce with a couple of cilantro leaves.
     
     This walleye pike entree has such an outstanding flavor!  The cilantro flavor and sun dried tomato flavor are thoroughly infused with the hollandaise sauce.  The sauce is compatible with every item in the stack presentation.  The sauce is perfect for the fine flavor of walleye pike!  
     This is a very nice elegant modern entree that features one of North Americas finest fresh water game fish.  This plate of food is pretty to look at too.  Yummy!  Bon Appetite!  ...  Shawna        

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