Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A New Orleans breakfast

Brennan's in New Orleans serves an incredible brunch, and it has been one that I have used as a benchmark for all others. It was three courses, beginning with a rich, sherried turtle soup, followed by eggs Hussard, followed by bananas Foster, and accompanied by milk punch. I don't think I can get away with serving turtle soup in California, but I'm going to do my eggs Hussard for a crowd (the real thing requires poaching eggs; fine for a party of six but for more than a dozen, I prefer a strata base). I may substitute thick hot cocoa for the milk punch, unless someone wakes up needing the hair of the dog.

Eggs Hussard for 14

Plain Strata for Eggs Hussard
6 whole eggs and 1 dozen egg whites
4 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 loaf of dry bread, torn up and crusts removed
Butter to butter pan with

Mix eggs, milk and salt well. Pour over bread. Soak overnight. Put in a buttered 9x13 pan.
Bake at 375 about 45 minutes until puffy and golden.
Top with 2 cups of marchand de vin sauce and 2-2/3 cups holandaise

1/3 cup butter
3/8 cup onion
2 scallions
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 cup minced ham
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
1/3 cup flour
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 cups beef stock
1/2 cup red wine
2 teaspoons thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper

Melt butter in a large saucepan and sauté the onion, garlic, scallions and ham for 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 2 minutes.
Blend in the flour and cook for 4 minutes, then add everything but the parsley. Simmer until the sauce thickens, about an hour. Remove bay leaves and put in fridge.

Reheat sauce slowly. Add parley before serving and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Blender Hollandaise
1 lb butter, melted
1 dozen egg yolks
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Blend the yolks, juice and pepper slightly in the blender or food processor. Turn the blender on high, then slowly add the melted butter. Cover, then pulse on for 60 seconds, off for 30 seconds, until the sauce thickens to the point that it does not drip down readily from a spoon. Do not reheat.

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