Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happy Hollandaise, Everybody!

Hello. I've missed you. I'm hoping that corny title will score some points with my readers, as I have been a total blogging slacker lately. It's not that I'm lazy; It's Facebook's fault, dammit! That's my story and I'm sticking with it.

I made the classic heart attack on a plate for my parents yesterday. Eggs Benedict is absolutely my favorite brunch. It's a nutritional catastrophe, but so delicious. Mom and Dad polished it off with wild abandon.

From Wikipedia:
"Hollandaise sauce is an emulsion of butter and lemon juice or vinegar using egg yolks as the emulsifying agent, usually seasoned with salt and a little white pepper or cayenne pepper. It is a French sauce, so named because it was believed to have mimicked a Dutch sauce for the state visit of the King of the Netherlands."

Though it may be caloric and artery clogging, it is a gorgeous and delicious sauce. It tastes light and heavy at the same time. The lemon hits you first, then you get the richness of the butter and egg. A few tablespoons a year won't hurt you too much, right?

I use a recipe from my mom's Betty Crocker cookbook from 1956. It is a gem of a cookbook, replete with those old illustrations of happy caucasian housewives and their satisfied, business-suited caucasian husbands.

Hollandaise has a bad rep as a difficult sauce, and many of you are afraid of screwing it up. I think this method is a great one that has always ended up successful, at least with me. The trick, I believe, is adding the very cold butter. This keeps the sauce from cooking too hot, thus curdling it.

This makes 1 cup of sauce. First, get a double boiler going on the stove. If you don't own one (I do not) just place a little sauce pan in a bigger saucepan filled with simmering water. Barely whisk 2 egg yolks with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Put this in the double boiler. Add a half stick of very cold unsalted butter and stir gently but constantly. When the butter has melted, add the other half stick. As you continue to stir the butter in, the sauce will thicken. I like a thick, but pourable viscosity.
I love the word viscosity.

If you aren't using the sauce immediately, keep it in the double boiler, but turn the heat off and cover it. Give it a little whisk to re-emulsify right before you serve it.

Egg yolk, butter and lemon are all I put in my hollandaise. Wkipedia says you can season it with other stuff, but I find it to be perfectly tasty with just those 3 ingredients.


debra said...

yum. yum. yum.

pnlkotula said...

I don't know if I've ever had eggs benedict. Hmmm. Happy you're blogging again. Happy New Year!

Amy Sullivan said...

~I love "eggs benny"~
~I will make it for dinner, actually that sounds very yummy, for the not too distant future.~
ps~I blame facebook too~