Classic Hollandaise Sauce

There really aren’t any good photos for this post, so I do apologize in advance.  Yesterday, I got the bright idea to not only make the English Muffins, but I also chose to make poached eggs, bacon, and Hollandaise sauce.  Upon reading through my recipe a few times, I realized I was in trouble.  Most of the food stuffs were done at the same time and I only had about half of my already too small counter space since the hubs was in the middle of a project on our kitchen door (the one that leads out to the garden and deck/backyard).  Amid the tools and tiles, I managed to spread about my cookbooks and pans, while the little guy bounced blissfully in a doorway.  Happy as a clam, he cooed and squealed as I rushed about the kitchen.  

I used my Mastering the Art of French Cooking and found the directions simple and straight forward.  Julia had once said that she was too obvious to be a spy, but I think her blunt manner is what made her an excellent teacher.  She has 2 versions of the recipe in her book, one to be made by hand and one by “electric blender”.  I chose to do the hand method, otherwise, I figured it really wouldn’t be much of a challenge.  And really, I should be able to do these basic sauces without any outside help, don’t you think?  I cut the recipe in third so as to accommodate 2 people, but I will type out the entire recipe for you below.  Let me just say that there is something so satisfying when you beat the dickens out of eggs and watch as they absorb the most heavenly of all staples; butter.  

Hollandaise and Bearnaise sauces are siblings in the family that is the French mother sauces.  Their cousin is Mayonnaise.  The main difference between Hollandaise and Mayonnaise is that while they both require eggs and fat to be emulsified together, Hollandaise requires the eggs to be heated while the Mayonnaise does not.  Hollandaise and Bearnaise then differ really only in the amount of seasoning.  Like my brother and I, one lives for flair and excitement (seasonings and a wine reduction in the Bearnaise sauce) and the other enjoys time at home with a good book (only the introduction of lemon juice in the Hollandaise).  The making of Hollandaise is very simple and honestly takes but a few moments.  In the future, I won’t start this sauce until right before I plate.  I only made enough for two but there were still leftovers, which we used in our breakfast burritos this morning.  I know.  Julia Child just rolled in her grave at the mention of breakfast burritos.  Oh well.  Can’t win them all.  But what you can win is the approval of those around your dinner table when you serve this sauce.

Melt 6-8 ounces butter in small saucepan.  Cover and set aside.  In a medium saucepan, beat 3 egg yolks with a wire whip until they are thick and sticky; about a minute.  Add in 1 Tbsp each of cold water and fresh lemon juice and a generous pinch of salt.  Beat for an additional half a minute.  Add 1 Tablespoon of butter, but do not whip.  Place your saucepan on very low heat and begin stirring the yolk mixture with your whip.  It will take about a minute or two, but the yolks will turn into a smooth, thick cream.  When you can see the bottom of the pan cleanly between 

strokes, you’ve arrived.  Immediately  remove your pan from the heat and beat in an additional Tablespoon of cold butter. (This cools the yolks enough to stop the cooking)  Then, while you continue to beat, stream in the melted butter slowly at first, but then as the sauce takes on a thicker, creamier texture, stream a bit more rapidly.  When all the melted butter is incorporated, season the sauce to taste and serve it with eggs, artichokes, or just with a plain spoon.  It is, heavenly.

Resources:  On Food and Cooking, Mastering the Art of French Cooking