I Loves Me Some Hollandaise Sauce

It’s springtime and I dig fresh asparagus.  I steam them and served them hot and slighty crisp. I also make a Hollandaise sauce to serve over it. It’s the perfect combination of butter and lemon, which I would happily drown my food in were it not for the health conditions that could potentially kill me.

Sure you can buy packets of Hollandaise sauce to which that you just have to add water and you have something that’s yellowish, slightly runny and bears as much resemblance to Hollandaise Sauce as yellow snow, but why do you hate your dinner guests so much?

Here I present to you a modified recipe for Hollandaise sauce for two.

You will need within arms reach:

1 stick of butter, which will become clarified in a few minutes
2 eggs yolks
1/4 tsp ground mustard
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp lemon juice

One blender – or in my case, a General Electric Mixer (in Harvest Gold) with one blade and one of the one-cup containers from my Magic Bullet set. ( I do have both blades, but they won’t both fit in my Magic Bullet cup)

One small saucepan

Big Spoon

Cheesecloth (optional)

iTunes set on Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet (optional, but not really)

In my one small saucepan I have unceremoniously dumped my one stick of butter and set the stove on 6 – which may seem high, but it’s an electric stove and my kitchen is small and I’m never more than four inches away. It’s impossible to be further away from the stove and not be outside.

I won’t go into the procedure for separating egg yolks from the white, but trust me when I say, I get good and personal with my unfertilized chicken embryos.  Yolks go into the container with the pepper, lemon juice, salt and mustard. With my one blade set on “Whip”, I get everything good and dizzy for about a minute.

By now my stick of butter is melted and bubbly and frothy and I shut the stove off.  Now here we talk about clarification, which means removing the milkfat and the water to create pure buttery oil goodness.  We want this because if we just spin the warm butter with the egg yolks and lemon juice, we’ll end up with something far more watery than we want. We want a fine upstanding sauce that can enhance a strong vegetable or better yet, bring out the subtle flavors of a meek whitefish.

My saucepan resembles whitecaps on the Pacific Ocean, and we want to remove those whitecaps. You can strain your butter through clean cheesecloth (I shouldn’t have to qualify that with the word “clean”, but I feel it’s necessary), or you can do what I do and scoop it out with a spoon and toss the milk into the sink. I don’t have clean cheesecloth so I couldn’t further strain mine, but I highly encourage you to take the initiative. Be the better cook.

I will now slowly introduce my hot, mostly clarified butter slowly to my egg yolk peeps with my one-bladed blender on low.’You’ll notice I’m taking my time low as first impressions are important, especially when dealing with hot butter and egg yolks. Too much too fast and you end up with terribly buttery, lemony scrambled eggs. I should know – I wreck a batch of this every freakin time. and just to ensure they’re really getting along, I blend it for another minute or so. It’s like opening the bar at a wedding reception while the bride and groom are taking their sweet time with pictures.

When finished, it should be slightly thick and pour slowly. It will have a delicate lemony taste and a buttery flavor that makes you do a little jig.

Place your creation into it’s serving dish and serve immediately. Hollandaise is meant to be served warm. It’s not au jus. It’s not designed to draw attention itself with it’s salty flashiness.

To increase the recipe, I would recommend adding another stick of butter and increasing the lemon juice by half.

FYI – you cannot store Hollandaise sauce.  Once it’s made, you either drink it or pour it down the drain.  My cardiologist would recommend the drain. We’re dealing essentially with uncooked eggs and oil, there’s no way to store this and reheat it without scrambling the eggs. Plus there’s an a whole science of emulsion that comes into play and it can’t be recreated from cold storage. This is a special occasion sauce and it’s okay that it’s enjoyed in the moment.

Like this? I’m considering posting more of my favorite recipes so I can access them from wherever I feel like cooking.

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