Saturday Hollandaise


Saturday Hollandaise

You can make hollandaise sauce in a blender.  It’s easy, really hard to mess up, and quick to make.  Perhaps its only flaw is that it can be a little thicker than a hollandaise done by hand.   But where is the love?

Food for me is demonstrative.  In my book, cooking from scratch means I love you.  The more time you spend on a meal the more you care.  Right?

Maybe.  But I’m pretty sure that the breakfast I cooked from scratch for my husband on Saturday morning didn’t exactly scream love.    I’m commuting between Charlotte and Charleston for work this summer and as a result, we aren’t seeing each other except on the weekends.  So my idea was to wake up early on Saturday and surprise North with one of his favorites, eggs Benedict.

Early Saturday morning, as I snuck downstairs leaving North in bed, I found myself to be a little cranky.  I always struggle with making hollandaise from scratch so the fact that I had woken up on the wrong side of the bed was not an auspicious start.  True to form, my hollandaise went from thick to thin as I struggled not to break the sauce.  Finally getting it to the desired consistency and trying to work quickly enough for it to stay warm, I turned to poaching the eggs, toasting the English muffins, reheating the Canadian bacon, and taking pictures for my blog.  All at once. 

Chaos quickly followed with its favorite friend, frustration.  Then anger.  Why was my husband still sleeping?  Doesn’t he know I’m slaving over this stove for him? These questions all passed through my mind as I cracked an egg into water that was way to cold to poach it properly. 

My dark karma must have roused the unsuspecting recipient of this special meal, because he soon stumbled downstairs into the lion’s den.  In between trying to revive my hollandaise which now looked like old mayonnaise, I barked orders and created an even larger mess, before assembling the eggs Benedict on his plate and thrusting it into his hands with a snarl.  His special breakfast had been served.

Fortunately for North, who had to endure a lot that morning,  it was delicious.  But somewhere along the way my special meal lost its fun.  Being one of those obnoxious over achievers, this meal was just one more reminder to me that sometimes it is better to take a couple of shortcuts.  The hollandaise would have been just as good made in a blender, the meal much easier, and the love might have been there.

 “Slaving for the One You Love” Hollandaise
Makes 1 cup

This recipe, adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook edited by Ruth Reichl, depicts the traditional way of making hollandaise.  I highly encourage everyone to try and make your own hollandaise, because there is a great sense of satisfaction when it comes out perfectly.  With that being said, hollandaise made in a blender or food processor is equally as delicious and preferable when it comes to enjoying your Saturday morning.

1 cup clarified butter or 2 sticks butter
3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon water
Salt and pepper, to taste

If you don’t have clarified butter on hand, simply melt the two sticks of butter in a small saucepan until completely melted and foam forms on top.  Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly before skimming the foam off the surface with a spoon and discarding.  In another small saucepan, whisk egg yolks, lemon juice and water over medium low heat until eggs start to thicken.  Watch the eggs carefully as it’s very easy for them to become scrambled eggs if the temperature is too high.  Remove from heat when a figure eight can be drawn in the egg mixture.   Slowly add butter, whisking to incorporate.  If the sauce is too thick, add a little water.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and enjoy.

Note:  If eggs are overcooking, try preparing the hollandaise in a double boiler or in a metal bowl over a pan of simmering water.

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