Monday, April 1, 2013

Hollandaise Sauce

Bob insisted there be Hollandaise  at our Easter dinner. We had ham, Bob's wonderful Gruyere potatoes, and asparagus. I was a little surprised. I don't make Hollandaise all that much. My mother used to make sauce Bernaise, which I called Bayonnaise sauce (sort of like mayonnaise, I guess) every time we had steak.  It was one of the first things my sister  and I learned to cook, and I made it in a little saucepan.
I  do remember my mother serving Hollandaise with a  dish we called jellied eggs, or in the case of my father, who had a taste for whimsy, "jerried eggs."  This was a summer lunch dish. One took a small baking dish, put a lightly poached  egg into it and then poured Campbell's consume from the the can over the egg.Then,  you put it in the refrigerator until the consume jelled. It was served over cold ham  and lettuce.  It made for a more decorative dish if you used an egg poacher and didn't just drop the egg into boiling water.
We loved it, but my husband has a low opinion of jellied consume. He calls it "beef jello". There is a famous family story that originated when my husband, who was then my boyfriend, came to visit my family at the farm. It was summer, and we had jellied consume as a first course.  Bob did not eat his, something that was just  not done in  my house.
 When we finished the soup and my brother George got up to take the soup dishes out, George noticed this, and remarked, probably with some subdued outrage, "Bob didn't eat his soup."
"Maybe he didn't like it," my mother replied. 
George probably doesn't remember this, but that statement probably made as much sense to him as if my  mother had said, "It might rain in Houston on  Thursday." In our house, like and eat had little to do with each other.
So we don't have beef jello in our house.
When I acquired my own kitchen, I  did not make Bernaise sauce, or Hollandaise sauce,  but I did know how to separate eggs, thanks to the sauce  brothers. In case  you are trying to sort out these two egg based sauces, Hollandaise is made with eggs, butter and lemon juice. It's the sauce  you ate over Eggs Benedict last weekend when your cousin Sally came to town. Bernaise sauce is made with eggs, butter and vinegar. It is served occasionally over steak.
Anyhow, it is fairly easy to make as long as  you take the instructions on low heat seriously. If you put the heat up too high, it does something called curdle. The eggs get cooked instead of blending with the butter. There are other recipes, some in this blog,(look in April, 2010) for Hollandaise that call for making it in a blender. That's easiest of all.

Hollandaise Sauce  

8 egg yolks
6 tablespoons hot water
4 tablespoons lemon juice
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 
1 cup butter             

1. In a saucepan, beat the egg yolks with a wire whisk until they are thick and pale. Add the water, lemon juice, salt and pepper and beat viorously.
 2. In another saucepan,  heat the butter just to bubbling.  Pour it slowly into the egg yolk mixture, beating rapidly.
3. Place the sauce over very low heat and cook,  stirring constantly, until sauce is properly thickened. Do not overcook  or sauce with curdle. (To restore slightly curdled sauce, add two tablespoons cold light c ream and beat quickly, off the heat.) Makes one and one half cups.                                                                                                                                                                           

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