How To Make the Best Hollandaise Sauce


I am consistently surprised by the number of people who rely on fat-free fats and sugar-free sugars as a regular part of their diet.

This week, I conducted a test to determine if I was letting my food snobbishness get the better of me, or if something is actually wrong with these foods. I bought a tub of trans-fat free margarine, and had a friend over for a tasting. Her palate is best described as indelicate; she has been known to eat food out of the garbage.

She is my dog.

I put a little schmear of unsalted Land O' Lakes butter on my finger tip, and held it at dog-nose height. She lapped it up, wagged her tail and begged for more.

Next, I took a finger tip of trans-fat free margarine. She sniffed it, looked at me like I had betrayed her and left the kitchen.

My dog is not a fussy mutt. She subsists primarily on Purina products, punctuated by the occasional Peter Luger doggy bag. But somehow, she knows better than to eat trans-fat free margarine.

So why do we?

When marketers tell us we'll get skinny eating X and Y while avoiding Z, we do it. If we were more in touch with our animal instinct (eat when hungry, stop when full, ingest only things that grow, walk, swim or fly), we'd be less likely to stuff ourselves silly, then rely on fake food as salvation.

Since our poor economy has everyone reintroducing themselves to their skillets, my recommendation is to get rid of any kitchen "foods" that grandma wouldn't recognize. Reacquaint yourself with butter, cream, whole eggs, salt and sugar. These foods are the reason restaurant food tastes better than homemade: No flavor-focused chef would ever substitute imitations for these key ingredients.

While you're getting real, try this recipe for Hollandaise sauce.

Hollandaise is often intimidating because traditionally, the cook has to whisk like mad while holding a bowl over a pot of steaming water to cook the eggs without scrambling them. Whisking makes the sauce light and foamy, and butter makes it better.

My approach uses a blender. It cuts down on the foam and the elegance, but also on the time and stress. Approach it as you wish.
Just use real butter.

Blender Hollandaise
2 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Warm water, as needed, to thin sauce
• Put the egg yolk, lemon juice and cayenne into a blender. Pulse a couple times to combine. Put the butter in a small microwave safe bowl and melt in a microwave until just melted. With the blender running, gradually add the melted butter into the egg to make a smooth frothy sauce.
• If the sauce is very thick, blend in a teaspoon of lukewarm water to loosen it up. Season with the salt and serve immediately or keep warm in a small, heat-proof bowl set over hot (but not simmering) water until ready to serve.

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