Thursday, December 1, 2011

Understanding Hollandaise

It's time to spruce up those vegetables.  I love broccoli or asparagus with Hollandaise sauce and Eggs Benedict for breakfast can't be beat.  Hollandaise is a very versatile sauce and it's easy to make too.  It is a mayonnaise that is made with melted butter instead of oil.  Egg yolk doesn't emulsify butter as well as oil so you have to use about two egg yolks to 1/3 cup of butter. Sterilize the egg as for Caesar Dressing, melt the butter but don't get it too hot because you don't want it to cook the yolk as you emulsify it.  Just as for Ceasar Salad Dressing add a teaspoon of melted butter beside the yolk then slowly pick it up with the whisk.  If you break the sauce you can rescue it with another egg yolk, slowly whisk the broken sauce into the yolk.

When you have successfully emulsified all the butter add a tablespoon of fresh squeezed lemon juice and a pinch of salt and whisk in and taste.  If it needs more lemon add it, if it's tangy enough but too thick add a little water. Is there enough salt? It should be a thick liquid before you cook it. When you have the sauce tasting great put it over boiling water and stir continuously or in the microwave for 20 seconds, stir, then 10 second and stir till it's thickened enough. That's it, pour it over your vegetables or eggs or crab and steak or even a cajun chicken breast and indulge yourself.

A note about asparagus, you use the flower top end and put the tough, fibrous root end in the stock pot. If you bend the root end it should break at the transition from stringy to succulent. There is probably a better way to determine where to trim them but that is the best I have so far.

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