Another light Sunday, in preparation for the work week ahead. It’s gonna be a doosie, too, I kid you not. I need me some wholesale nutrition to get ready for whatever fate has in store. Luckily, our local Whole Foods had a great price on turbot – our favorite fish – and, not needing much more than that, I decided we’d forgo a starch and enjoy only two courses tonight: fresh green beans and fish with sauce. Turbot is the ideal swimmer for hollandaise, and there is a special brand of satisfaction that can be gleaned from perfecting this mother sauce. It is a delicate emulsification of egg yolk and butter and lemon, and when perfect, it is the rich tangy goo of the Gods. My idea was lemony toothsome green bean bites gently nestling soft sinews of flatfish filet under an undulating blanket of creamy pillow sauce. All this in barely 30 minutes and for less than $20. That’s good cookin’!
What you’ll need, for two:
2 turbot filets – about 8oz each
4 egg yolks
1 stick butter
12 oz fresh green beans
1 small white onion
4 cloves garlic
Pith and juice from one preserved lemon
one handful snow pea sprouts
My green beans. My husband, Clayton, tells me today that he’s been *thinking* about buying me this contraption that French cuts green beans. Thinking? What the heck was he waiting for? But, far be it for me to delay an idea, so I decide to roughly French cut these by hand, hoping that the gizmo, whenever it does arrive, will improve upon whatever my poor efforts can provide.
Sliding my chef’s knife as flatly across the beans as I can, I shear my beans into slivered sliced niblets.
Yesterday, I peeled a Meyer lemon, reserving as much fruity pulp and white pith as I could but discarding all the bitter outer skin. I squeezed these naked slices into a ziplock bag, dousing them with sea salt, sugar, a dash of crushed red pepper, one bay leaf, and EVOO, then rolled all the air out of the bag before I sealed it, creating a poor man’s vacuum pack. I set this in my fridge until just now. I’m going to dump this quick preserved lemon pith into my green beans to compliment the flavor of my lemon hollandaise fish filets.
Along with this lemon joy, I’ve got one diced white onion and 4 minced garlic cloves.
I add my onion and garlic to a heated tablespoon of EVOO in my Ikeawok, and sauté them until translucent.
I add my sliced green beans …
… then drain all the liquid marinade off my lemons into the pan, too. Let simmer for several moments, just to steam to beans down (which these needed, because they ended up being a bit tough)…
… before adding the lemon pith and pieces themselves. Stir well, and set to simmer until the beans are perfectly al dente.
I’m going to bake my fish filets, so I add a tablespoon of butter to a ceramic baking dish and set it inside my hot, 400° oven to melt. It’s OK if it turns brown, like mine did.
Layering my fish over the melted butter is the first step. Then I stud the filets with cold butter pats, salt, pepper, and the juice of ½ a lemon. I throw this baby into the oven to roast for about 10 minutes. That’s all it needs!
I separate my yolks from my whites, preparing to make my hollandaise. This sauce requires constant attention once you start it. Everything else should be taking care of itself, while you’re taking care of the sauce. Once it’s ready, you can set it aside for about 3 minutes to set up your final plates, so plan ahead.
I take a cold stick of butter, and cut it into small cubes. Oh, and I cut into a lemon, making it ready to squeeze into my sauce later.
I whisk my yolks with about a tablespoon of cold water, until it’s frothy and a bit lighter in color. I then place this large metal bowl over a small saucepan, filled with 1 inch of simmering hot water. Whisking continually, I beat to twice its volume over the gentle heat, then I add one wee cube of butter at a time, whisking well each time, emulsifying the butter into the sauce. When all my butter is added, I remove the bowl from the heat, add the juice of ½ a lemon, some salt and pepper, and whisk until well incorporated. I set this aside for a few moments, while I plate my green beans and move my cooked fishflesh from its baking dish.
As Canada wins, in overtime, the last gold medal of the 2010 Winter Olympics, I serve up my last gold medal meal of the weekend. A hearty mess of lemon and onion French-cut green beans snuggles up against a perfectly roasted filet of sweet tender turbot, proudly wearing its golden garnish of fresh hot hollandaise, a glittering with a mini epaulette of sugar pea tendrils dressed in EVOO and citrus. An ethereally light, wholeheartedly wholesome, fresh fish and veg dinner, perfect for the closing ceremonies of my weekend.