Or Hollandaise sauce to be more precise. Hollandaise is another of those sauces known as an emulsion. It is also one of French cuisine’s mother sauces. The basic recipe gives you the base and you, the cook, can add to it to make it something better and different.
In flavor, it is rich and buttery with a mild tang of lemon at the end. It is the premier part in eggs Benedict and what makes the dish so popular. This is definitely not something to have if you’re watching your cholesterol or weight. The egg yolks alone will dissuade many a dieter.
The history of this sauce goes back very far. Some say that it came from the Huguenots, and there are recipes from the 1500s where it did not contain eggs at all to make the emulsion. The butter is what created the desired consistency to make this sauce. Another source has Hollandaise been made for the king of the Netherlands when he visited France to mimic a similar sauce from his country.
This sauce isn’t as simple as a bechamel where it starts from a roux. It requires skill and some level of patience to bring it all together into something smooth and creamy and won’t separate like the eggs that went into it. Temperatures must be tightly controlled so the eggs don’t curdle. I’ve yet to make one, myself, but I have tasted a rather basic Hollandaise sauce. It’s definitely buttery.
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon water
1/4 teaspoon sugar
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Pour 1-inch of water into a large saucepan; over medium heat, bring to a simmer. Once simmering, reduce the heat to low.
Place egg yolks and 1 teaspoon water in a medium mixing bowl and whisk until mixture lightens in color, approximately 1 to 2 minutes. Add the sugar and whisk for another 30 seconds.
Place the mixture over the simmering water and whisk constantly for 3 to 5 minutes, or until there is a clear line that is drawn in the mixture when you pull your whisk through, or the mixture coats the back of a spoon.
Remove the bowl from over the pan and gradually add the butter, 1 piece at a time, and whisk until all of the butter is incorporated. Place the bowl back over the simmering water occasionally so that it will be warm enough to melt the butter. Add the salt, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper. Serve immediately or hold in a thermos to keep warm.
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