Saturday, July 31, 2010

Hollandaise Sauce: I Can Whisk Up the Devil and So Can You!

A Lego display I saw in a mall here recently. I don't know about you, but I typically wouldn't be smiling in that situation.

Two notes:
  1. There are no sauce-related pictures for this post because, well, I just didn't think about it during the process (or before it was all consumed). Your reward for visiting (in addition to all this lovely text): random photos from Singapore!
  2. In celebration of my last post, I just left a semi-embarrassing "you're my hero" comment on David Lebovitz's post on how to make ice cream without a machine. He initially wrote the post over three years ago and is still dutifully replying to people that leave questions today.
  3. Okay, maybe three notes. This sauce is wonderful with savory things, which I will go over in the Reflections section.
Why do I refer to Hollandaise sauce as the devil? It's simply because I find it hard to believe that something comprised of that much cholesterol and fat and deliciousness is not the handy work of Lucifer himself. I'm not a religious person, but something spooky is going on here, along the same twisty-whisky path as mayonnaise.

Hollandaise Sauce
Adapted from the

Yields maybe 1/2 C or so, I'd guess (I didn't measure it, I ate it)

2  yolks
1/2 T  lemon juice
1/4 C (55 g or so) unsalted butter, melted
pinch of salt
the following to taste:
whipping cream
black pepper
  1. Combine the yolks and lemon juice in a heat-resistant bowl and whisk until the volume is doubled.
  2. Simmer a few inches of water in a pot and place the bowl over it; whisk vigorously until the mixture is slightly thickened, removing and replacing the bowl over the pot to keep the mixture from scrambling.
  3. Stream in the butter while continuing to whisk until the mixture is doubled in volume and thickened.*
  4. Remove the mixture from heat and whisk in the "to taste" ingredients as you please.
  5. Serve with savory things to add richness and sauciness and sinfulness and enjoy.
*Alternatively, since this impromptu double boiler can be steamy and precarious, you can remove the bowl from the heat, drizzle in some butter, whisk whisk whisk, return to heat, and repeat. There, that wasn't so scary, right?

Hollandaise Sauce Reflections

I tempered the lemon flavor and slightly overly thickened mixture with whipping cream, then added a generous amount of red chili powder (the cheap and therefore less potent substitute for cayenne from my nearby grocer), then a few dashes of the rest of the "to taste" ingredients to add body. I suppose these additions veer from the more traditional recipe I started with, but all the flavors made sense to me. Cooking shouldn't be about hard and fast rules, it should be about what feels and tastes right; that will bring you the most satisfaction in your meals.

The idea for making Hollandaise sauce sprung from excess egg yolks, memories of a brunch weeks past at House, and the prospect of brinner. We love brinner. Last Friday evening, The Resident Taste Tester and I feasted on eggs Benedict with grilled asparagus and pear cider (and sampled the latte ice cream that was still in the process of freezing). The following Saturday, we dined on T-bone steaks with grilled zucchini and microwave "baked" potatoes, with finally set latte ice cream for dessert. Eggs Benedict and steak are lovely ways of consuming Hollandaise sauce, but feel free to have it with salmon, steamed vegetables (it is mighty good with asparagus), and whatever else pleases your palette.

I've read and heard a couple times that Hollandaise sauce is difficult to make, but, um, I didn't have any issues in the grand one time I made it. This is not bragging, believe me, this is simply something that came out fine the first time. So don't be weary of the process, cooking is about eating and learning, but rather the potential cardiac arrest that's in store.

A picture of one of many, many comfy looking kitties that are no doubt being fed left overs around town. This specimen is specific to Arab quarter. I hope this makes up for the lack of goopy sauce photos.


  1. I'm not a fan of Hollandaise sauce. I just don't like how it tastes. But great job making it!

  2. I was never a big fan of it before I made my own. A lot of places that I've eaten at produced something really boring and thick, so for me, customization was the key.

    X M