Mousseline sauce is a useful sauce for anyone wishing to eat like James Bond. It’s versatile, being suitable for a variety of dishes. Bond has it with asparagus in Diamonds Are Forever (1957) – this after Ian Fleming was told by a reader of Moonraker (1955) that asparagus is served with mousseline, not Béarnaise sauce – and poached turbot in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969). And being adapted from hollandaise sauce, mousseline can naturally be used for eggs Benedict as well.
There are many variations of the sauce, but I’ve taken my cue from a recipe devised by chef and hotel proprietor Monsieur Pic, published in Samuel Chamberlain’s Bouquet de France (1952).
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp cold water
- 2 egg yolks
- 30g butter
- Pinch of salt and black pepper
- 2 tbsp double cream, whisked to soft peaks
Quarter-fill a small saucepan with water, place it over a medium heat and bring the water to the boil. Reduce to a very low heat, so that steam, rather than bubbles, emanates from the water.
Fill a bowl or small basin with the teaspoon of water, the lemon juice, a pinch or two of pepper, a small piece of butter, and the egg yolks. Sit the basin on top of the saucepan and whisk the ingredients to create a smooth mixture, taking care not to allow the water to come to a simmer.
Add the remaining butter bit by bit, whisking each small portion fully into the sauce before adding another knob. Once all the butter has been incorporated, continue to whisk until the sauce has thickened to soft peaks. This will take a good ten minutes of whisking, so be patient. Take the bowl off the heat, then fold in the cream.