Baked cod with béarnaise sauce

To serve 6.

Buy the thickest part of the cod filets only, so the baking will be even.  Depending on their size, you will need about 1 filet for two people.

3 filets of cod
olive oil
salt and pepper

  • Preheat oven to 400°F
  • Dry the filets with paper towels and brush them with olive oil.
  • Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Brush a baking pan with the olive oil and bake the filets in it for 10 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven, cover and keep warm.

Béarnaise sauce

The béarnaise sauce is similar to the hollandaise sauce but is enhanced with shallots, tarragon, and vinegar. These two are the most celebrated of emulsified sauces and consist of a stable mixture of two liquids – vinegar or lemon and butter – that normally separate from each other.  To keep them together they need an emulsifying agent that occurs naturally in many animal substances such as egg yolks (lecithin), milk (casein) and blood.  In fact, a small quantity of casein in regular butter does, to a slight degree, help emulsify your hollandaise sauce. These agents work in three different ways: they coat the oil droplets, reduce water’s surface tension and give the oil droplets identical electrical charges.

So, the stability of an emulsion is threatened if:

  • temperatures are too extreme (separates when frozen, curdles when heat reached 190°F)
  • there is excess agitation – overbeating destabilizes the emulsion.
  • a nasty thunderstorm strikes!

2 Tbsp of finely chopped shallots
1 Tbsp of red vinegar
1 Tbsp of water
1 Tbsp of fresh tarragon
3 large egg yolks at room temperature
1/4 tsp of salt and a pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter at room temperature and cut up in small pieces

  • In a thick-bottomed saucepan mix the vinegar and the shallots.
  • Cook on low heat until vinegar is evaporated.
  • Add the water, the yolks, the tarragon, the salt and the cayenne.
  • Beat with a whisk until just blended.
  • Improvise a double boiler with 1/2 inch of water brought to a simmer in a large pan and set  the saucepan with the egg mixture in it.
  • Cook for 1 or 2 minutes until yolks thicken.
  • Beating constantly, gradually add increasing quantities of butter.
  • Serve with the cod filets.

Rôti de boeuf Charlemagne

This roast, sadly, is not used very much. Its chewyness seems to keep people from trying it. Yet it repays in taste what it does not give in tenderness.  Serves 6 people.

3 lb beef round eye round roast
2 Tbsp of cooking oil
1 carrot, 1 onion, quartered
2 Tbsp of butter

For the duxelle

2 Tbsp of butter
1 10 ounce package of mushrooms, sliced
1 onion, minced
2 Tbsp of tomato paste

For the béarnaise

1 shallot, minced
pinch of chervil and/or tarragon
1/4 cup of water
1/4 cup of vinegar
freshly ground pepper
3 egg yolks
14 Tbsp (7 ounces) of butter

  • Preheat oven 375°F
  • In a heavy frying pan heat the oil and brown the roast on all sides.
  • Set the meat in a fireproof dish with the 2 Tbsp of butter, the carrot and the onion.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Cook in preheated oven 30 minutes (rare).
  • In the meantime prepare the duxelle: sweat the onion in the butter and add the sliced mushrooms, salt, pepper and lemon.
  • Cook on high heat until all the moisture is evaporated.
  • Turn off the heat and add the tomato paste.
  • Prepare the béarnaise sauce: in a small saucepan, gently cook down the mixture of water, vinegar, chervil, tarragon and pepper.
  • Reduce to 1 Tbsp of liquid, let cool.
  • Beat the egg yolks for about 1 minutes or until thick.
  • Add the wine and the vinegar mixture, beat for half a minute more.
  • Add one tablespoon of butter and put the saucepan over low heat.
  • Beat in another tablespoon of butter, then the rest of it slowly. Correct seasoning.
  • Cut the roast in small slices, but not all the way through.
  • Put the duxelle of mushrooms in between each slices.
  • Spread the béarnaise sauce over the top and cook under the broiler until brown.

Boiled fillet of beef

1 trimmed and tied fillet of beef
2 tsp of salt per quart of water

  • Take the meat out of the refrigerator at least 1 hour before cooking it (if you trimmed it beforehand).
  • Choose a fish poacher long enough to fit the fillet.
  • Fill it with water counting the quarts in order to salt the water correctly.
  • Cover and bring to a full boil.
  • Drop the meat into the water and tie the loose end of the string to the pot’s handles.
  • Cover to bring the water to a boil as quickly as possible.
  • Uncover and count 13 minutes with the water boiling (or 17 minutes with the “chain” still attached).
  • Put the meat on a wooden platter, cut the strings.
  • Let rest 5 minutes then slice 1″ thick pieces.

Bearnaise sauce

1/4 cup wine vinegar
1/4 cup vermouth
1 Tbsp minced shallots or scallions
1/2 tsp dried tarragon
1/4 tsp salt, pepper
3 egg yolks
1 to 1-1/2 sticks butter

  • Boil the vinegar, wine, herbs and seasonings in a small saucepan until liquid is reduced to 2 Tbsp.
  • Let cool.
  • Beat the egg yolks in a saucepan to thicken them slightly.
  • Add the vinegar mixture and place pan over low heat.
  • Continue beating until the sauce is thick enough that you can see the bottom of the pan between strokes.
  • Remove pan from the heat and start adding butter piece by piece.
  • Correct seasoning and keep warm.