In a HollandazePosted: April 12, 2011
I’ve realized that any “eggspert” should be a master of Hollandaise sauce, that creamy yellow goodness that’s served with Eggs Benedict, Eggs Florentine and (at fancy places) asparagus. My years watching the Food Network have taught me two things about it: every cook should know how to make it, and it’s really not that hard to make from scratch — it just takes some practice.
I’ll admit it: I’ve made Hollandaise from a mix before, as well as “quickie” versions that merely taste like it but are absolutely nothing like it (think: mayo, Dijon mustard and sour cream). So I figured it was time to make it for real. Plus, Eggs Benedict is one of my favorite meals, so why shouldn’t I be able to make it at home? What I found is that yes, the sauce demands some attention to detail, but if you can use a whisk, you can make it.
Eggs Benedict with Homemade Hollandaise Sauce
For the sauce:
– 4 egg yolks
– 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
– ½ cup (1 stick) butter
– Cayenne pepper
For the eggs:
– 2 eggs
– 2 slices of Canadian bacon
– 1 English muffin, cut in half
– 2 tablespoons of vinegar
– Salt & pepper
To make the sauce, you could use a double boiler. But since the only person I know to have an actual double boiler is my mom, I used a medium-sized pot and an aluminum bowl instead.
Fill the pot with an inch or so of water (make sure the bowl can rest on top and not touch the water) and bring it to a boil.
Whisk the eggs yolks and lemon juice in the aluminum bowl. The mixture should thicken and nearly double in size.
Turn the water down to a simmer (ie: very low) and place the egg mixture on top. Continue whisking until the eggs heat up. Be careful that the heat isn’t too high or the eggs will scramble and ruin everything. (Trust me, it happened to me the first time I tried to make this sauce.) Then slowly whisk in the melted butter until the sauce thickens even more.
Tip: After scrambling the eggs on my first try, the second time I didn’t leave the bowl sitting on top of the simmering water for very long. I lifted the bowl off of the heat, whisked in the butter, sat it back on top of the pot, whisked and then quickly took it off. I kept repeating this process until all of the butter was incorporated. So just remember: heat, lift, butter, whisk – heat, lift, butter, whisk.
Once all of the butter has been added, remove from the heat and whisk in cayenne and salt to taste; I used a pinch of each. You’ll know it’s done when the sauce can cover the back of a spoon and runs off slowly – so not too thin, not too thick. Cover and set aside until ready to use. Don’t worry about it cooling down too much since Hollandaise is typically served at room temperature. It does thicken as it cools, so you can whisk in a very small amount of warm water to loosen it up before serving.
Now for the eggs. The two tricks to poaching is adding vinegar to the water and swirling the pot before you add the eggs.
Fill a medium-sized pot about ¾ of the way with water, add a few tablespoons of vinegar and bring to a boil. I always crack the eggs into small ramekins to make sure there are no shells and because they’re easier to pour.
When really bubbling, turn the heat down and give the water a good stir. Basically, you’re making a little whirlpool for the eggs. Slowly pour the egg into the middle of the pot, and give it another stir so the egg white wraps around the yolk. Carefully stir the pot again and add the second egg. Cook for about 3 to 4 minutes.
While the eggs are cooking, toast the English muffin. Fry the Canadian bacon in a small pan and put a slice on top of each half of toasted muffin.
When the eggs are done, remove them from the water using a slotted spoon and gently place on top of the Canadian bacon. Spoon Hollandaise sauce over each egg, season to taste with salt & pepper, then eat.
What’s awesome about this dish is that everything works so well together. When you think about it, eggs covered in egg sauce sounds like it would be too eggy. But it’s not the case at all. The Hollandaise sauce is smooth and creamy, buttery and lemony. It perfectly complements the fluffy, runny eggs, the salty bacon and the crispy muffin. It makes the entire dish seem special … a little fancy, even.
Also, for anyone who’s not a fan of Canadian bacon, any type of bacon or ham would be just as good. If meat isn’t your thing, you can use sautéed spinach and call it Eggs Florentine. I think I could put Hollandaise sauce over pretty much anything. And now that I know it’s not nearly as complicated to make, I just might.