This past week has been absolutely crazy! So much work and lots of kayaking. I'm an avid sea kayaker, so a few days touring around the little Islands was sorely needed for some 'relaxation'. With severe pains coursing through my body from being battered by the sea I decided I had done more than enough exercise to warrant some fantastic food splurging. In keeping with my sauce posts promise I settled on Hollandaise for its rich velvety taste and calorific goodness. Eggs Benedict is one of my favorite recipes utilising this delicious sauce but one that should only be made on special occasions due to its huge fat content. But hey you only live once! Try this sauce over fresh asparagus for a simply heavenly brunch or side dish.
What is hollandaise? Well it's an emulsion of egg yolk, butter and originally lemon juice although I prefer apple cider vinegar. Hollandaise is notoriously hard to prepare or so they would make us believe. There are a couple of ways to make hollandaise, but the way I prepare it is the easiest and quickest using the bain marie method. What is a bain marie? Well it's a french term for a pot of gently warming water with a smaller container (bowl) which is immersed 3/4 into the boiling water. This allows the contents of the smaller container to be kept warm and at a constant temperature. This is very important as you need to be able to control the heat and rate at which your sauce cooks. It may take 1-2 tries to get the sauce right but remember you can always take the sauce off the heat if you feel its cooking too quickly. Follow the tips and enjoy this heavenly sauce... not too often though!!
1 Egg Yolk
4oz / 5 Tbsp Clarified Butter
50 ml Apple Cider Vinegar
First set up your bain marie. Basically a saucepan with some warming water and a bowl sitting in the saucepan. The bottom of the bowl should sit about ½ way into the water.
Separate the yolk into the bowl and beat gently using a balloon whisk. Do not place on the heat yet until all the separate elements are ready.
In a second saucepan gently melt the butter and allow to cool slightly.
In a third saucepan simmer and reduce by half the apple cider vinegar. Allow to cool.
Now that all elements are ready you can begin assembly of the sauce. Place the bowl containing your pre-whisked egg yolk onto onto the simmering water and whisk vigorously for about 1 min. If you think the heat is too high and the yolk may scramble remove immediately from the heat.
Now very carefully and slowly add the reduced apple cider vinegar to the yolk whisking as you add. Remember add a little at a time to ensure that it emulsifies with the yolk. Keep a close eye on the mixture and if you feel its getting too hot remove from heat.
Now the final part. Take your now warm butter and again slowly add with whisking into your yolk mixture. Do this over the heat. Whisk vigorously. You will begin to see the mixture thicken as you whisk. Finally add the sea salt and white pepper and whisk in. Serve over poached eggs or asparagus. Always serve warm never hot. You can keep the Hollandaise warm using the bain marie, remember to give it a whisk every few minutes to prevent a crust forming.
Top Tip: If the sauce begins to split whisk in a little ice cold water.