I think most people are intimidated by the idea of any sauce that needs to be made over a double boiler…one of those two level pans, where you put water in the bottom level to allow you to gently create an emulsified sauce (usually with butter as the base) via constant whisking. My favorite is Hollandaise sauce…perhaps because I like Eggs Benedict so much! So I’m here to tell you that you can easily make it from scratch without any fear! Make perfect Hollandaise Sauce by using a blender!
Let me first tell you a little bit about why doing these sauces can be tricky in a double boiler…that’ll help you appreciate why the blender method works so well. An emulsion is when fat molecules are suspended in liquid. Normally, fat and liquids (think oil and water) don’t mix. So the molecules of one need to be broken into minuscule droplets, done by whisking when making by hand, and then suspended in the other. But because the particles of each tend to hang out with their own kind, the emulsion will naturally “break” over time. You’ve probably seen this with salad dressings when you let them sit for a while. So things that help the emulsion hold can be added…these are things like egg yolks and mustard. These substances have bigger molecules that keep the other ones from separating so easily into their respective ingredients.
So sure, you can whisk by hand a mixture of butter, egg yolk and lemon juice over low heat to create a great Hollandaise. But as you might imagine, a blender does a better job than by hand of breaking up the ingredients into those minuscule droplets. I’ve found that the result is pretty much failsafe!
Ingredients (makes 3/4 cup, or enough for 4 Eggs Benedict; recipe can be doubled):
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 egg yolks
dash of salt
dash of cayenne
1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter
In a blender, put the lemon juice, egg yolks, salt and cayenne together and pulse (with the lid on!) once or twice to blend the ingredients. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat until fully melted. Raise the temp to medium high for a minute or two until the butter is foamy but not at all browning. Turn on the blender, remove the center insert in the lid and with the blender running, very slowly pour in the hot butter. When fully incorporated, replace the lid insert, and leave covered for 1 minute. You should have a very thick, perfectly seasoned Hollandaise sauce!
Enjoy over the classic Eggs Benedict, with a vegetable such as asparagus or broccoli, or use as a dip for veggies or even meat from a hot oil fondue. You can also use the same technique for Béarnaise sauce as well.