Probably pretty obvious, but fonduta is the Italian version of…
Local cook and all-round nice guy Colby LeMoine is, as far as I currently know, a butcher at The Bauer Butcher in Waterloo, a fabulous shop in the Bauer Buildings in midtown. He is also the subject of one of my all-time favourite photos, above.
LeMoine, if I recall correctly, was participating in an Iron Chef-style competition at Uptown 21 a couple of years ago to raise money for the Food Bank of Waterloo Region.
I’m guessing he was making a pasta, and by one legerdemain or another (if you suspend your disbelief) he managed hold in suspension this freshly cracked egg!
(It was even more amazing that I happened to have my camera there at just the right time.)
Now, the egg being suspended in mid-air by LeMoine’s culinary wizardry (the pasta was quite good if I remember), got me thinking about the principle behind an emulsion — two liquids that don’t dissolve in each other and keep their separate identities, sort of suspended together, even when you mix them vigorously.
An egg yolk is what is known as a natural emulsion, while mayonnaise and Hollandaise — the latter of which is one of the five Mother Sauces — are, obviously, sauce emulsions (both of which use eggs).
When you slowly pour oil into egg yolk and beat it, the oil is driven into smaller and smaller and smaller droplets within the yolk. At the end of the emulsification, what you are left with is about 80 percent oil inside the yolk.
Emulsions are are a lot of work for chefs because they have to whisk the dickens out the ingredients to get them to come together and they have to prevent those usually incompatible ingredients from separating at the same time.
It’s cool how much oil a single egg yolk can hold. Almost as cool as LeMoine’s yolk trick in the photo.