The Got to Be N.C. Competition Dining Series faces off two local chefs in a single-elimination, blind-dinner format. The chef’s menu is created around a North Carolina ingredient that is revealed at noon on the day of the competition. This secret ingredient must be used in each of three courses, appetizer, entree and dessert. The competition is held in Asheville, Blowing Rock, Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh and Wilmington.
Thompson went up against Chef Joseph Yarnell of Cantina 18 in the opening battle of Fire in the Triangle on June 23. The secret ingredients were sourdough and whole wheat breads and white chocolate baguettes from La Farm Bakery in Cary and Kolsch-style beer from White Street Brewing in Wake Forest. Thompson will compete in the sold out July 14 battle against Chef John Childers of Herons at the Umstead in Cary. Tickets are still available for a few remaining Fire in the Triangle events in Raleigh. Tickets for Fire in the City in Charlotte are also available.
Following is Thompson’s recipe for Kolsh Hollandaise, which was part of the highest scoring dish of the battle – White Street Kolsh-Marinated Venison, Kolsh-Braised Mushrooms, Savory Lobster Bread Pudding and Kolsh Hollandaise.
1. Whisk eggs in a figure-eight-style movement, over double boiler. Make sure the water isn’t touching the bottom of the bowl. The figure-eight technique will help keep the hollandaise fluffy. You will need to occasionally scrape the sides of the bowl to prevent the egg from scrambling. You are looking for the egg to lighten in color to a pale yellow. If overcooked you will see little pieces of scrambled yolk, start over. Once you achieve the proper color remove from the heat and place on a wet towel or a pot with a wet towel to hold the bowl in place.
2. Now take clarified butter that is about 140 degrees, it needs to be hot. You are going to slowly ladle the butter into the egg while figure eight-ing your whisk at a fairly rapid pace. When the mixture starts to get thick like mayonnaise add a teaspoon of the beer. Continue to add all of the butter with occasional beer in between to keep the consistency the preferred fluffy and pourable, but not runny. Remember you can always add more liquid but you can’t take it out. You may or may not use all of the beer. The trick is to get a consistency that is a little thicker than desired finish product.
3. When the hollandaise is just a little thicker than you want, start to add truffle oil, salt, lemon juice, Worcestershire and Texas Pete, one ingredient at a time, while still whisking at a somewhat rapid pace. This should finish it off, and it will be ready to serve immediately. Hollandaise is a weak emulsion and cannot be held hot or even all that warm. Try and make it as close to service as possible to eliminate the possibility for a broken sauce.