and foolproof hollandaise sauce over asparagus, on
September 5, 2018.
are scared of hollandaise sauce. They shouldn’t be. How
can anything this good be frightening?
sauce is like liquid sunshine — it’s even the color of
sunshine. It is impossibly light, yet decadently rich. It is
like a custard you can pour that makes everything it touches
sublime. It is the taste of happiness, if happiness were
And yet, it
has a reputation for being difficult to make. But it
isn’t, really. It’s just that sometimes something goes
wrong with it.
a hollandaise sauce will break. That is, the butter
separates from the egg and it looks curdled and kind of
disgusting. The sauce typically breaks if the butter is
added too quickly or if the sauce is made at a too-high
shouldn’t happen if you’re careful, but it happens to
everyone, even professionals. It can even be fixed, although
it won’t be quite as good as if it hadn’t broken.
But there is
no need to fear, because so far we have only been talking
about making hollandaise the traditional way. There is also
another way to make it that is foolproof. Well, more or less
hollandaise requires a great deal of whisking over the
moderated heat of a double boiler. But the foolproof method
only requires a blender and a bit of patience.
It may not be
as rich as the traditional hollandaise, but the foolproof
method comes with the stamp of approval from Julia Child.
Besides, less-rich hollandaise is still plenty rich.
is basically butter, egg yolks and lemon juice, lightly
flavored with salt, pepper and maybe cayenne pepper. Served
over eggs benedict, it is perfection. When matched with
asparagus, it is unsurpassable. Spooned over poached salmon,
it is the quintessence of elegance.
I first made
a batch of hollandaise sauce the traditional way. You begin
by whisking together some egg yolks with a splash of lemon
juice. Then you place that bowl on top of barely simmering
water and slowly and continually whisk in melted butter —
drop by drop at first, and then in a thin, steady stream.
You need one
hand to pour the butter, one hand to work the whisk and one
hand to hold the bowl to keep it and the pot from sliding
around the stove. It’s easy. But if you only have two
hands, you don’t really have to hold the bowl.
temperature is vital. If the eggs get too hot they will
scramble. If the sauce gets too hot it will become too
thick. If the sauce does get too thick — you should be
able to pour it — take the bowl off the heat and whisk in
a few drops of warm water. If it is still too thick, whisk
in a few more drops.
If you get it
right, you should have a sauce that is almost effervescent.
It shimmers on the tongue.
blender method is easier and faster. If you’ve never had
it made the traditional way, you may think it is the best
You start off
with egg yolks and lemon juice in a blender, along with salt
and pepper. With the blender going full speed, you slowly
add melted butter — again, drop by drop at first, and then
in a thin, steady stream. Finally, you take a towel and wipe
down the cabinets, your clothes and your hair, because
pouring liquid into a spinning blender inevitably leads to a
But the sauce
is divine. Asparagus just isn’t asparagus without it.
servings (1 cup)
4 egg yolks
fresh lemon juice
1 stick (1/2
cup) unsalted butter, melted
whisk the egg yolks and lemon juice together in a stainless
steel bowl until the mixture is thickened and doubled in
volume. Place the bowl over a saucepan containing barely
simmering water (or use a double boiler). The water should
not touch the bottom of the bowl. Continue to whisk rapidly.
Be careful not to let the eggs get too hot or they will
drizzle in the melted butter and continue to whisk until the
sauce is thickened and doubled in volume. If necessary to
keep the eggs from overheating while doing this step, take
the bowl off the top of the pot while still whisking to
allow it to cool down a bit. Then return to the heat. When
done, remove from heat and whisk in cayenne and salt.
3. Cover and
place in a warm spot until ready to use. If the sauce gets
too thick, whisk in a few drops of warm water before
260 calories; 25 g fat; 16 g saturated fat; 245 mg
cholesterol; 3 g protein; 1 g carbohydrate; no sugar; no
fiber; 593 mg sodium; 30 mg calcium
Tyler Florence, via the Food Network
FOOLPROOF HOLLANDAISE SAUCE
servings (3/4 cup)
3 egg yolks
1 to 2
tablespoons lemon juice
1 stick (1/2
1. Place egg
yolks, salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon lemon juice in a
blender jar. You can add more lemon juice when sauce is done
and will know what proportions you like for the next time.
2. Cut the
butter into pieces and heat it to foaming hot in a small
3. Cover the
jar and blend the yolk mixture at top speed for 2 seconds.
Uncover, and still blending on top speed, immediately start
pouring in the hot butter in a thin stream of droplets. (You
may need to protect yourself with a towel during this
operation.) By the time two-thirds of the butter has gone
in, the sauce will be a thick cream. Omit the milky residue
at the bottom of the butter pan. Taste the sauce, and blend
in more salt and pepper if necessary.
4. If not
used immediately, set the jar in tepid, not warm, water.
328 calories; 35 g fat; 21 g saturated fat; 266 mg
cholesterol; 3 g protein; 2 g carbohydrate; no sugar; no
fiber; 206 mg sodium; 35 mg calcium
“Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” by Julia Child,
Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck