Whisk the yolks, water, and lemon juice in the saucepan for a few moments, until thick and pale (this prepares them for what is to come). Set the pan over moderately low heat and continue to whisk at reasonable speed, reaching all over the bottom and insides of the pan, where the eggs tend to overcook. To moderate the heat, frequently move the pan off the burner for a few seconds, and then back on. (If, by chance, the eggs seem to be cooking too fast, set the pan in the bowl of cold water to cool the bottom, then continue). As they cook, the eggs will become frothy and increase in volume, and then thicken. When you can see the pan bottom through the streaks of the whisk and the eggs are thick and smooth, remove from the heat.
By spoonfuls, add the soft butter, whisking constantly to incorporate each addition. As the emulsion forms, you may add the butter in slightly larger amounts, always whisking until fully absorbed. Continue incorporating butter until the sauce has thickened to the consistency you want. Season lightly with salt, pepper, and a dash of cayenne pepper, whisking in well. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding droplets of lemon juice if needed. Serve lukewarm.
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, if needed (or more)
- 6 -8 ounces very soft unsalted butter
- 1 dash cayenne pepper
- salt, fresh ground white pepper, to taste
This classic recipe comes from “Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home” that was published in 1999.
Toast the baguette slices and let them cool. Spread a generous layer of butter on each slice (you will need about 5 tablespoons), then lay the slices close together on a baking sheet and top with all but 1/2 cup of cheese. In a large saucepan, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the onions, season with salt and sauté, stirring occasionally, until very soft and golden, about 15 minutes.
In a 5-quart casserole, arrange a layer of bread slices (about 1/3 of them). Spread 1/3 of the onions on top, followed by 1/3 of the tomato purée. Repeat for two more layers. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese. To avoid boiling over, the casserole must not be more than 2/3 full. In a saucepan, bring 1 1/2 quarts water to a boil. Add the salt. Very slowly pour the salted water into the casserole, near the edge, so that the liquid rises just to the top layer of cheese without covering it. (Depending on the size of your casserole, you may need more or less water.)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put the casserole on the stove and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, then transfer to the oven and bake uncovered for 1 hour. The soup is ready when the surface looks like a crusty, golden cake and the inside is unctuous and so well blended that it is impossible to discern either cheese or onion. Each person is served some of the baked crust and some of the inside, which should be thick but not completely without liquid. Serves 6.
- 1 baguette, cut into 1/2-inch slices (about 25 to 30)
- 9 tablespoons butter, softened
- 9 ounces Emmental cheese, finely grated
- 8 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced (about 12 cups)
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt, more to taste
- 1 cup tomato purée.
Bring all but the last two ingredients to boil in the kettle. Boil for 2 to 3 minutes to evaporate its alcohol and to reduce its volume slightly. Add the mussels to the kettle. Cover tightly and boil quickly over high heat. Frequently grasp the kettle with both hands, your thumbs clamped to the cover, and toss the mussels in the kettle and an up and down slightly jerky motion so the mussels will change levels and cook evenly. In about 5 minutes, the shells will swing open and the mussels are done. With a big skimmer, dip the mussels into wide soup plates. Allow the cooking liquid to settle for a moment so any sand will sink to the bottom. Then ladle the liquid over the mussels, sprinkle with the parsley and serve immediately.
- 2 cups light, dry white wine or 1 cup dry white vermouth
- An 8- to 10-quart enameled kettle with cover
- 1/2 cup minced shallots, or green onions, or very finely minced onions
- 8 parsley sprigs1/2 bay leaf
- 1/2 bay leaf
- 1/4 teaspoon thyme
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 6 quarts scrubbed, soaked mussels
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped parsley
Recipe from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking.