Hollandaise Sauce. The queen mother of emulsified sauces. Rich, suave butter and egg sauce, which tastes so elegant with freshly cooked asparagus, artichokes, poached fish or eggs benedict. Thanks to James Beard’s Cooking in Practice and Theory, I can now enjoy this sauce without the stress of the “by hand method.” Oy. Such a relief. If you have a blender or a food processor, you’re in luck.
4 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
Dash of tabasco (if ya like the kick)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 stick unsalted butter
Combine the egg yolks, seasonings, and lemon juice in the container of the blender and turn the blender on and off on high setting to just blend the mixture. Heat the butter until it is bubbling and very hot, but not browned. Remove the insert from the lid of the blender, turn the blender to high, and pour in the hot butter in a thin continuous stream–do not pour too fast or the eggs will not absorb the butter properly. When the butter is absorbed and the sauce thick, turn off the machine. Viola.
Troubleshoot tip: If the sauce should start curdling while you are adding the butter, pour 1 tablespoon hot water into the sauce while the blender is running.
FOOD PROCESSOR METHOD
With the metal blade in place, add egg yolks, lemon juice, salt and Tabasco in the container of the food processor. Process for 3 seconds and, still processing, pour in the bubbly melted butter. It is essential the sauce be bubbly hot or it will not thicken.
Béarnaise Sauce: Put 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots or scallions, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon, or 1 teaspoon dried tarragon, 1 teaspoon chopped parsley, 1/4 cup white wine, and 1/4 cup white wine vinegar into a small pan; bring to a boil and boil until it is reduced practically to a glaze about 2 tablespoons. Cool. Press this through a strainer into the beaten egg yolks before starting to add the butter. Serve with steak, chicken, fish, or vegetable.
Tomato Hollandaise (Sauce Choron): Add 1 or 2 tablespoons tomato paste to béarnaise sauce. Serve with steak, chicken, fish, or vegetable.
Mustard Hollandaise: Add 1 or 2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard or 1 teaspoon hot dry English mustard to the seasoning for the hollandaise.
Sauce Mousseline: Fold 1 cup whipped cream into the finished sauce. Serve with fish, asparagus, or souffles.
Anchovy Hollandaise: Add 4 very finely chopped anchovy fillets, 1 finely chopped or crushed garlic clove, and 1 teaspoon capers to finish the sauce.