Ok ok, I know I have a wee obsession with duck eggs. I am seeking proper care to cure my addiction, but in the meantime I want to share yet another showcase meal featuring the lovely oval gems. I present to you sous vide duck eggs on a bed of wilted greens flanked by butter egg biscuits and drizzled in Meyer lemon hollandaise. Sexy factor is high on this one since you’ve got all sorts of beautiful consistencies playing off each other for a smooth mouthful.
I am slowly but surely becoming more confident in my abilities with emulsion sauces. Whenever you have a short ingredient list yet something beloved practically the world over, you know proper technique is what elevates the dish to excellence. It is the same with hollandaise. Use only the freshest egg yolks (duck in my case), creamiest unsalted butter, and Meyer lemons if you can get them. A Meyer lemon is sweeter and less acidic than a typical lemon. This plays nicely with the custardy yolk/butter sauce because it adds just a hint of sweetness to take off the eggy edge. If the hollandaise recipe you like calls for sugar, I would omit or decrease the amount if using Meyer lemons. Once you have a nice custard-like texture to the egg yolks inside the double boiler, add butter that has been frozen and chopped into ½” cubes, whisking each cube in one at a time. You can stop adding butter when you have the consistency you like, don’t keep going with the butter or your hollandaise will be runny; especially once you add the lemon juice. I never thought I’d hear myself say this, but be judicious with the salt. The sauce will already have a deep, rich flavor, and you don’t want to mask it with excessive salt.
Some folks like their wilted greens braised in red wine, perhaps with a touch of caramelized shallot or garlic, but this dish has so many competing flavors I wanted the greens to serve as a backdrop. I merely steamed them for four minutes and packed them on the plates in heaping mounds. Use more than you think you’ll need- spinach always wilts to nothing. The real star in this dish is the sous vide egg. Jeffrey Steingarten believes the perfect egg is one that has been prepared sous vide, and I hate to belabor the point but I agree with him. I do mine somewhere between a soft and hard boil at 150° for 45 minutes. When you crack through the skin and reveal the soft egg it will be all you can do to keep yourself from eating it before it hits the plate. Resist that urge- egg, spinach and hollandaise are an unreal combination that belong on the dinner plate together.
I flanked the dish with some fresh biscuits almost as an afterthought, but I ended up glad I did. I threw an egg into the biscuit dough this time just for fun and wow, does it ever make for fluffy bread. The baking powder I’ve always used makes for a predictable, acceptable leavening, but the egg addition creates a different animal altogether- like a biscuit soufflé. This dish in its entirety is knock-your-socks-off delicious- something you should probably only serve for immediate family since you don’t want to be embarrassed in front of dinner guests when you inevitably lick the plate.