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The first thing you should think about if you are inventing a sauce is the name. If your invention stands the test of time, taking its place among the world's great sauces, the name ideally will stick with it. That is why Hervé This, the father of molecular gastronomy, named his invention Sauce Kientzheim, after the small village in Alsace that his family hails from.
The name doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, a la hollandaise, but Kientzheim "is the most beautiful place in the world, and the only name I found worthy of my sauce," says This.
But This doesn't stop there. He also wants to construct new recipes. The saying goes that necessity is the mother of invention, but that's not really the case most of the time, and certainly not with This. Instead, knowledge of how the world works enables him to think of new ways to maneuver around it, necessary or not.
In cooking, emulsion sauces are where craft meets alchemy. An emulsion is an impossibility, a combination of liquids that are unblendable: fat and water, the first in the form of oil or butter, the latter from the egg and in the form of wine, lemon juice, vinegar or the like. We may know how to make these emulsion sauces -- and with a bit of practice we might even approach them without much fear -- but very few of us know what goes on, how we make water and fat interact and become one. So we wisely stick to the rules.
Most of us haven't reflected on the difference between a mayonnaise and a hollandaise, apart from what the recipe tells us: Mayonnaise is made by gradually whisking oil into an egg yolk until the result is a thick, smooth sauce. Hollandaise and its flavored cousin, bearnaise, are made by whisking together egg and butter while gradually heating the mixture until it thickens.
Although by no means as commonplace as the classic sauces, it has already been featured on the menus of several Paris eateries, not only at Pierre Gagnaire but also at Pascal Barbot's jazzy and luxurious 25-seat restaurant L'Astrance and at all brasseries and bistros in the Freres Blanc group, including the famous 24-hour eatery Au Pied de Cochon and the venerable La Fermette Marbeuf.