I admit, this recipe is kind of a pain to make. But I promise…it is worth it. The surprise of finding a warm gooey sauce inside of a perfectly fried ball is really magical (if you’re someone who fantasizes about food like I do). Ideally these little pouches of love should be made just before serving. But as we’re typically on our 4th (or higher) bottle of wine by the time I get to the main course, I’m not sure working with a 375 degree fryer is the safest or sanest choice. So I devised a way to keep the Bearnaise warm (so it doesn’t congeal and split) and crispy. While it isn’t perfect and the best bet is really to fry and serve immediately, I think it’s a reasonable substitute.
Ingredients – makes approximately 40 balls
Total Time – 25 hours (1 hour)
- 1kg distilled water
- 5g sodium alginate
- 60g white wine
- 60g champagne vinegar
- 30g shallots finely chopped
- 6g tarragon roughly chopped and separated (5g and 1g)
- 2 egg yolks ~40g
- 15g hot water
- 225g melted butter
- 9g Calcium lactate
- Salt & White Pepper to taste
- Bearnaise spheres from above
- All purpose flour
- 1 egg beaten
- Panko bread crumbs
- Canola oil (for frying)
- Using an immersion blender, mix the sodium alginate into the water. This may take several minutes given the gummy nature of sodium alginate. Be sure to scrape down the blender as much of the alginate may stick to it.
- Let the mixture rest overnight so that all the air bubbles escape. Alternatively you can use a Chamber Vacuum Sealer to remove the air from the liquid.
- Combine the white wine, vinegar, shallots, and 5g of the chopped tarragon in a small pot and boil till reduced to approximately 30g (about 10 min). Strain and discard the solids
- In a double boiler (or a metal bowl set over a pot of boiling water that doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl) combine the egg yolks and water.
- Whisk continuously until the mixture has tripled in size and resembles a homogeneous sauce
- Remove from heat and slowly drizzle in the melted butter while continuously whisking the mixture together again until all the butter is incorporated and the mixture is emulsified.
- Whisk in the calcium lactate until fully incorporated
- Add 15g – 30g of the tarragon vinegar reduction (to taste) and season with salt and white pepper (again to taste)
- Place the sauce in a squeeze bottle and keep warm so the sauce does not separate (place bottle in a pot of water on lowest heat possible)
- Pour the sodium alginate mixture from above into a wide shallow container
- Take a hemispherical teaspoon and dip it into the alginate ensuring it’s fully covered
- Squeeze the Bearnaise sauce into the teaspoon
- Completely submerge the teaspoon into the alginate and slowly turn it upside down shaking the sphere out of the spoon.
- The sphere may float to the top. Spoon a bit of the alginate over the top to ensure it is forming a membrane all over
- After three minutes flip the sphere to ensure all sides are ‘cooking’. After an additional 3 minutes remove the sphere from the alginate with a slotted spoon and place in a bath of clean warm water to rinse
- Repeat the above process working on as many spheres at one time as your dish size will allow
Deep Frying the Spheres
- Heat the fryer oil to 375°F
- Set up a station of three bowls: all purpose flour, well beaten egg, and panko bread crumbs
- With you hands, carefully remove one of the spheres from the water. Roll it gently in the flour to obtain a very light dusting.
- Place it in the egg and fully submerge. Then gently roll around in the panko to completely cover
- Carefully place into the fryer for about 45 seconds or until the spheres float and are golden brown all over. Do not overcook or the spheres will burst in the oil
- Remove from the oil and drain on a paper towel line plate. Season with salt while still hot.
- Best served immediately or see below for holding method
Holding the Bearnaise Spheres
- Ideally the Bearnaise spheres should be served immediately so they are warm on the inside and hot and crisp on the outside. Storing these spheres presents a dual challenge; the inside if cold will split and congeal and the outside will lose its crunch.
- A less than perfect, but better than nothing solution to this is to keep the spheres in a food dehydrator at around 150°F. This will keep the sauce warm and emulsified while the air circulation will keep the outside crispy. You will lose some crunch and the extreme heat of the fryer, but it is a good substitute for those not wanting to mess with a deep fryer in the middle of dinner.
- These go very well with any steak or carpaccio dish…really any dish for which a traditional Bearnaise is appropriate.
- Encourage your guests to place a sphere on top of a piece of meat (rather than piercing it) so they get the full experience.