Sunday, June 16, 2013

When it comes to cooking basics that everyone should know how to do, Hollandaise sauce is near the top of the list. The sexier sister of mayonnaise, Hollandaise is the ultimate in luxurious sauces that compliments most anything you serve it with. It spices up asparagus, Brussels sprouts, artichokes and green beans, and it's positively divine with eggs, toast, English muffins or biscuits.

The best part about Hollandaise? It's stupid easy to make. I know what you're thinking: "Surely it can't be easier than buying a Knorr packet at the grocery store?" It is, and don't call me Shirley. No, seriously, in the same amount of time you can whip up a flavorless packet you can make it from scratch. And the best part? Everyone will think you're a damn rockstar which, let's face it, you are. Also, the next time someone says they use the packets you'll be like "What are you, an animal??"

There are tons of variations on Hollandaise sauce but my personal favorite is Julia Child's from Mastering the Art of French Cooking. It's simple, straightforward and velvety smooth.


3 egg yolks
1 T. water
1 T. lemon juice (fresh or from the bottle, I won't judge)
1 1/2 sticks butter, room temperature
1 tsp. cayenne pepper, or to taste

First thing is first, if you remember to put your butter out to come to room temperature early enough, great! If not, don't sweat it. Set both sticks of butter, in their wrappers, in the microwave for 16 seconds. The sticks should be perfectly soft but not melted. The key is not melted, but also not rock hard. You want it to be spreading consistency.

In a heavy-bottomed sauce pan, combine egg yolks, water and lemon juice. Whisk vigorously until light in color. Keep your whisk out because you're going to need it! Set your pan over medium heat and whisk continuously until the egg yolks have thickened and you can draw lines in the bottom. It's vital that you whisk the entire time at a relatively fast pace (don't throw your arm out or anything) and cover the entire pan surface. If the egg yolks curdle, your sauce is done for! For visual of how this looks, check out this Vine I made while cooking.

Once your yolk mixture is pale and thick, reduce the heat to low and start adding your butter 1-2 tablespoons at a time. I just scrape some with my whisk into the pan and whisk until it is combined. Once it is totally combined, add some more. Continue this until all the butter is incorporated and your sauce is velvety and pale.

Remove from heat and add your cayenne pepper.

This morning, I draped my sauce over biscuits with pastrami and scrambled eggs for a Father's Day treat. 


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