Happy New Year Everyone!!!!!
Welcome to 2013 and another exciting year of Eating in Bed! Today I wanted to start with one of my all time absolute favorites, Hollandaise sauce. It’s one of the first things I ever learned how to make, and it’s been an important part in a lot of the cooking I’ve done, it’s one of the greatest sources of inspiration for me as well. Why would a sauce that’s considered quite, “outdated” be something that invokes inspiration in me? Because you don’t have to just make Eggs Benedict the traditional way, you can make a huge variety of small sauces from a traditionally Hollandaise. One of the best dishes I ever made was a variation of Eggs Benedict where I took toasted pumpernickel squares, topped them with smoked salmon, an apple cider vinegar poached egg, and finished with a creamy cucumber dill Hollandaise. It was a step back from the original, asking, “Is ham, egg, Hollandaise, and English muffin the only balance that can be attained?” And the answer was no, you can create and innovate from the original, and the smoked salmon Benedict had a finite sense of balance to it. The pumpernickel was crunchy and slightly bitter while the salmon was tender and smokey, the egg was borderline creamy with a tartness to the whites and the unctuousness from the runny yolk that was cut by the cooling tartness of the cucumber Hollandaise. Each flavor progressed in the mouth and nothing was frivolous, the lemon and dill in the Hollandaise countered the unsweetened acidity of the vinegar poaching, and they both paired with the flavor profile of the salmon. I digress though, I’m just trying to state something very simple, knowing how to make a good Hollandaise gives you the basis to make a plethora of dishes that are left to your imagination. While French tradition would dictate you have to make this sauce by hand, I’m going to tell you both ways, by hand and in the blender, which is the way I learned growing up and in my opinion can only be differentiated by its lighter aerated texture.
The above photo is an example of a blender Hollandaise, as you can see it’s very light, with a foaminess to it from the extreme aeration.
HOLLANDAISE #1 – Blend Baby Blend
- 4 – Egg Yolks
- 1 – Stick Butter, unsalted
- 1/2 – Lemon, Juiced (approx. 2 Tsp)
- 1 TSP – Salt (plus more to taste)
- 1 TSP – Cayenne Pepper (plus more to garnish)
- Put egg yolks in blender
- Cut stick of butter into 1/2″ slices, place in microwaveable bowl, cover with plastic wrap
- Microwave for 1 1/2 minutes until butter is melted
- Add lemon juice, cayenne, and salt to blender
- Blend until yolks are broken and other ingredients combined
- Slowly pour the hot butter in while the blender is still going, start out very slowly to not scramble the yolks
- Taste, correct seasoning, it should be balanced between buttery, creamy, salty, spicy, and tart. Each should not over power the other
HOLLANDAISE # 2 – Whisk Baby Whisk
- 3 – Egg Yolks
- As Needed – Water
- 1 TBS – Lemon Juice
- 1 TSP – White Vinegar or Champagne Vinegar
- 1 – Stick Butter, unsalted
- 1 TSP – Salt
- In a medium sized pot heat about 2″ of water to a boil, reduce to a simmer
- In a small sauce pot melt the butter and hold it over low heat
- In a stainless steal bowl, whisk together yolks, lemon juice, vinegar, salt and 1 TSP of water
- Whisk for about 2-3 minutes until well combined
- Here’s the tricky part, place the bowl over the simmering water, and very slowly whisk in the melted butter, one drop at a time to start and after you have in about a TBSP you can start whisking in a steady stream **NOTE** Remove the bowl from the pot every 30 seconds or so to keep the bowl from getting too hot and scrambling the eggs **NOTE**
- The sauce should double in volume and have a velvety smooth texture. If it’s too thick slowly whisk in warm water as needed. At this time taste it and correct the seasoning
Simple, right? Nothing that’s going to blow your brain up, the only bad part is that it’s a hard sauce to hold. As it cools it will set and become more like a custard, if you keep it too hot it will scramble, and you should never hold a Hollandaise for more than 2 hours. So, why were the recipes slightly different? Just to show you that they can be and that they will taste a bit different, the blender recipe will be slightly foamy and will have a nice citric tartness balanced by the cayenne, while the second Hollandaise will be velvety with contrasting acidity from the vinegar and lemon. You want to do it with lime juice, Serrano peppers, and pureed roasted tomatillos? Do it! What type of Benedict would you put that on? Corn bread, topped with roasted poblano, marinated thin sliced skirt steak, a poached egg, and your salsa verde Hollandaise. BOOM! Go forth now, with your new knowledge and create, and share, and spread new food traditions with those you love!