Champagne Sabayon

We can’t explain why this elegant sauce is so little known. It is probably most popular as a dessert, sweetened and served with fresh fruit. However, it is also a sensational accompaniment to vegetables, fish or white meat.

To dispel any fears or worries about the budget: it doesn’t have to be champagne, even if it makes this sauce particularly delicious. We like to use Crémant, which is a sparkling wine produced outside Champagne in France according to the “méthode champenoise” and is generally much cheaper. However, you can also use other quality sparkling wines, as long as they are not too fruity – the acidity is important for the final result.

Sabayon is the French name for Zabaglione, a famous Italian dessert. However, the term also refers to a type of sauce made with whipped egg yolk.

Apart from sparkling wine and egg yolk, we also use melted butter

Sabayon is usually prepared in a bain-marie. This requires a metal bowl that can be placed on top of a pot. If necessary, you can also use a smaller cooking vessel instead of a metal bowl, which can be placed on the larger pot using the handles. Water is heated in the pot until it is almost boiling and then kept at this temperature on a low heat. The water must not come into contact with the bowl, which is only heated by the rising steam.

Then the sparkling wine and egg yolks are whisked in the bowl for several minutes until the mixture has almost doubled in volume and has become creamy and thick.

However, we recommend a different technique for our savoury sauce:

The sparkling wine is brought to the boil once so that alcohol evaporates and it loses a little of its acidity.

The egg yolks are mixed thoroughly in a bowl with a whisk until a uniform, slightly foamy mixture is formed. The hot sparkling wine is now slowly added to this mixture in a thin stream, stirring constantly with the whisk. It is crucial to continue whisking vigorously without interruption until the Sabayon is completed!

The egg yolks and the incorporated sparkling wine are poured back into the pot while it is still hot and stirred constantly with the whisk. Turn the heat to the lowest setting so that the pot does not cool down but the Sabayon does not heat up any further.

After a few minutes, the sauce will become creamier and thicker. When you can see the bottom of the pan when stirring because the sauce no longer flows back immediately, it has reached the right consistency.

Then the pot is removed from the heat and the melted butter is worked into the sauce – again slowly, in a thin stream and stirring constantly. Finally, the sauce is seasoned with salt and pepper. A little spiciness is highly recommended. Piment d’Espelette or Tabasco are particularly suitable here. Cayenne pepper is an alternative. Herbs can also be used to enhance this sauce, tarragon is the classic choice. Wild garlic is in season here at the moment and will go well with our asparagus.

You need to have all the ingredients to hand, not let the temperature get too high (otherwise you will end up with scrambled eggs) and, above all, use the whisk continuously. That’s all you need to make this fantastic sauce in no time at all.

We also love a hollandaise with white asparagus, but this is even better


And may the taste be with you.

Ingredients (for 4 people):

200 ml champagne or other quality sparkling wine (white)

4 egg yolks

50 g melted butter or clarified butter

Salt and pepper

Piment d’Espelette, Tabasco or cayenne pepper

Optional: 1 tbsp tarragon, finely chopped

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