A lot of people are afraid of Hollandaise, and it can be a little tricky. There are raw egg yolk versions, made in a blender and supposedly fool-proof, but I like to make it the traditional way, in a double boiler. After all, it’s not the end of the world if your sauce breaks, or you overcook it. (It may be the end of your eggs benedict, though…) If it doesn’t come out great on your first try, do it again! And keep doing it until you get it right. It’s not rocket surgery, just takes a little finesse!
Hollandaise is great on poached eggs, but try it on asparagus or fish! You can also make variations like Bernaise (with tarragon), Sauce Dijon (with mustard), Sauce Mousseline (with whipped heavy cream), or Sauce Maltaise (with orange juice.) I’m not including these recipes, but feel free to look them up and give them a whirl!
3 ea Egg Yolks
1 Tbsp Water
1 Tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice
8 oz Unsalted Butter, clarified**
Salt, cayenne or Tabasco to taste
**To make clarified butter: melt in a small saucepan until the solids rise to the top – this is the white bits. Gently skim off the top and discard. Clarified butter is healthier than whole butter, and has a higher smoke point for sauteing. It will keep in the fridge, covered, for a week or so.
First of all, bring a few cups of water to a boil in a double boiler (or use a saucepan and metal bowl). Do not let the top touch the water. (Don’t heat the top piece of the double boiler!)
Separate your eggs, and put the yolks in the top of the d-b or your bowl. (Use the whites for meringue or an omelette!) Add water and whisk until frothy.
Turn the water to simmer, place the top on the double boiler, and whisk constantly.
When you can scrape the bottom of the bowl without the yolks oozing back together, they’re done. Remove from heat immediately. Be aware – this happens all of a sudden!
Without waiting for the eggs to cool at all, stir in the lemon juice.
Remove the pot from the stove and place a kitchen towel over it, then place the bowl on top.
With just a few drops at a time, whisk in the clarified butter. Once it begins emulsifying, you can pour the butter in a steady stream.
Once all the butter is mixed in, taste for seasonings and add salt as needed, and cayenne or tabasco if you want.
Set aside for a few minutes while you poach your eggs or steam your asparagus, etc, however do not leave for more than an hour. It’s really best when used immediately.
Eggs Benny? Traditionally, you use Canadian bacon, browned in a skillet, but I like my Benedict with crab or lobster, or a small piece of baked haddock – or some fresh, homemade lox!