Sunday, March 28, 2010

Hollandaise Sauce

I forgot to strain the sauce before snapping a photo. Doh!

I woke up late, tired from yelling my head off at the Staples Center. It's just not easy watching your favorite hockey team lose on your birthday. Bastards.

I'm not a lover of poached eggs (and therefore Eggs Benedict), so I just thought I'd go with toast, coffee and a nice Hollandaise in which to dip my bread. I know some people balk at the butter and egg yolks in the sauce, worried about their diet, but simply exercise a bit of moderation and you'll be okay. I learned a lot about portion control while in France and wonder if restraint at the table could help people out in the US.

The recipe for this mother sauce is pretty straight forward, but I've shared it because I forget a lot of things and require the occasional reminder. This recipe took me about 15-20 minutes prep and cook time and yielded about 6-8 ounces.

Hollandaise Sauce

4 egg yolks
1 stick unsalted butter
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
pinch salt
pinch Cayenne pepper

1. Clarify the butter in a saucepan. (See notes)

2. Vigorously whisk the egg yolks, water and lemon juice together in a stainless steel bowl until the mixture is thickened.

3. Place the bowl over a saucepan containing 2" of barely simmering water. The water should not touch the bottom of the bowl.

4. Continue to whisk rapidly for about 3 1/2 minutes. Be careful not to let the eggs get too hot or they will scramble.

5. Slowly drizzle in the melted butter and continue to whisk until the sauce is thickened. This may take several minutes (about 7 or 8), so be prepared for a serious workout. You will know the sauce is thick enough when ribbons form when the sauce drips from the whisk back into the bowl.

6. Remove from heat, whisk in cayenne and salt.

If you've never clarified butter, here's a link to a YouTube video. It's pretty easy. If I can do it without lighting myself on fire or burning my eyes out, anyone can.

You can clip a thermometer to the side of the bowl and achieve a temperature of 140 degrees. This is pretty hard to do, since it's easy to knock the thermometer off or into into the sauce. Ask me how I know. If you have a gentle simmer and the bowl isn't touching the water, you can be assured that you have the correct temp.

If you get some scrambled egg bits in your sauce, pour it into a strainer and collect the now-creamy sauce.

Pay close attention when adding the butter so as not to add too much. The yolks can only accommodate so much butter before the sauce separates.

If you are not serving the sauce immediately, cover the sauce with plastic wrap so that the wrap is actually touching the sauce to keep a skin from forming. Be sure to leave a small corner exposed so that steam can escape and reduce the chance of bacteria forming. If the sauce gets too thick, whisk in a few drops of warm water before serving.

Just below the recipes to the right is a link to a YouTube tutorial that shows the whole process quite nicely.

Dear Dallas Stars...I hate you. So much.


  1. Favorite team? The Red Wings were playing in Nashville.

  2. Is there a hockey team in California? I don't talk smack with gaming, but hockey is different.

    Word verification: dishing (that's appropriate)

  3. I tell ya, hockey in LA is a little weird. The Stars scored on my Kings, so I erupt, "THAT"S THE ONLY GOAL YOU GET, LOSERS!"

    Man, people looked at me like I just slapped a baby.

    Hockey "fans" in this city can be a little passive. Me, I like drunken rowdies who heckle and swear.