Chef’s Tidbits: Heavenly Hollandaise

Eggs Benedict

On occasion I will try to educate you readers in a culinary sense. I do realize that I may be preaching to the choir in a sense that a lot of you are quite the culinarians already. With that said, I am going to talk about one mother sauce today. That mother sauce is hollandaise. Essentially hollandaise in my mind is just a fancy mayonnaise. Either served at room temperature or slightly warm. Made with egg yolks, clarified butter, lemon juice and a hint of salt, cayenne pepper or a dash of your special hot sauce.

The reason why this is a mother sauce is that from this sauce a multitude of different variations can be made from it. For example ; sauce maltaise (which is orange hollandaise) preferably made with blood oranges , but any juicy flavorful orange will do. Sauce choron (which is with the addition of tomato purée). I have done this with straight hollandaise as a base, but even more tastier would be making bearnaise and then adding a hint of tomato purée to that. Bearnaise is hollandaise with the addition of a tarragon reduction. In my version of the tarragon reduction, I use shallots, dried tarragon and red wine vinegar reducing this to au sec (which is reducing liquid to almost a dry state), then incorporating this mixture to the basic hollandaise. Hollandaise usually is made by hand, but it also can be made in a blender or food processor. Here is a quick recipe:

4 large egg yolks
1 T. lemon juice
½ cup melted butter
Salt and cayenne pepper to taste

Place the yolks and lemon juice in a double boiler. I prefer a small sauce pot with a stainless steel bowl insert that fits just inside. Whisk the yolks and lemon juice just until they firm up a bit. Then pull out of the water bath and whisk in the melted butter slowly pulling the melted butter from the top because the milk solids and water should remain in the bottom. Lastly season to your liking with a pinch of salt and a dash of cayenne pepper … Enjoy!

Examples of use:
Asparagus, broccoli, eggs benedict, crab cake benedict, omelets, poached fish just to name a few!

Bon appetit,

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