Monday, March 5, 2007

Hollandaise 101 – Can a sauce really sense fear?

Re-run alert! Yes, viewers to my old blog may have seen this clip before, but it’s such a key sauce to master, I wanted to have it on this new blog. This sauce can be used on many other things besides eggs; like grilled asparagus and poached salmon. But, since the most common use is on the famous Eggs Benedict, I will also demo how to poach eggs (secret restaurant method) and how to finish the final dish. Stay tuned for that. Now, let’s get our Hollandaise on.

I’m going to show you a new and terrifying method for making this classic Sauce. I don’t use a double-boiler, but rather cook the egg yolks directly over a low flame. I find it faster, easier, and with less chance of under-cooking the yolks. (Warning, you may scramble a few before you get it, but once you get the feel you’ll never do them over water again!) Please note, it’s hard to see on the video, the bowl is never actually touching the flame, but a few inches above.

You’ll hear me say in the clip that this is the way to control the heat in the eggs. Most importantly, be brave! Like bees and dogs, a Hollandaise can sense fear. If you are afraid it’s going to “break” or separate, then it will. I believe this so deeply I had the slogan printed on T-shirts, which coincidently, I’m selling on the site! Hey, I think this is the first clip that actually features one of my products. Did I just “sell out?” If you are interested in getting one of these shirts just click on the picture and you'll be whisked away (pun intended) to my CafePress online shop. Anyway, good luck with the Hollandaise, and let me know how it came out. Enjoy!


Ingredients:
1 1/2 stick of unsalted butter
2 egg yolks
1/2 lemon
salt to taste
cayenne or tabasco sauce to taste

26 comments:

Kiki said...

Yay! FINALLY managed to create a hollandaise sauce, after years of scrambled eggs. It's official - I am a fan of Chef John.

One question though - what can one do with left-over sauce? I tried gently reheating it Au Bain Marie but found out that doesn't work.

Chef John said...

Yes is a way to bring back a holl sauce. I will try and demo it. You have to heat and "break" the cold sauce and then wisk it slowly into a couple tbl of hot water in a warm bowl.

Gunnar said...

Hmm... mine turned out much more orange, but that might just be the eggs. It didn't break and the eggs didn't really scramble, but it tasted quite bad at the end. A bit sour maybe? Or a bit eggy...

Oh well, I'll try again next time we have aspargus...

Chef John said...

I'm not sure of the problem, i think the eggs yolks were probably not cooked enough. You can also add some of lemon at the end to taste. I have received many success story emails about this demo,so I know it works. Try it again. Good luck.

Gunnar said...

Thanks for the diagnosis :) I was in no way suggesting that it wouldn't work! The blog/video is excellent by the way - I've spent lots of time watching in the last week. Made the shrimp couscous today, that turned out really well. Keep it up!

Mike M said...

I made the sauce, it came out way too buttery. Is that just the nature of hollandaise? It was too much for me. I like the site though, some great recipes and techniques on here.

Chef John said...

That's hollandaise. Its 75% pure butter!

Jackie Reynolds said...

I haven't tried a stove top hollandaise since I was about 21 (a long time ago!). Since then I have been making a blender hollandaise using the same ingredients and dribbling the melted butter in through the pour hole while the blender is running. It's successful and delicious. Do you think the egg yolks get cooked enough with the hot butter?

Chef John said...

They don't really get cooked unless the butter is pretty hot. Also prefer the flavor and texture of my method.

Jackie Reynolds said...

Thanks for answering so quickly. I'll definitely try your method.

SheDrummer said...

This is the recipe that originally brought me to this website but I am yet to try it. Maybe because I know a hollandaise can sense fear, and maybe because I don't have a round steel bowl to cook it in. Either way, it is in my future.

Laika81 said...

You are a genius and hilarious. Made my first hollandaise yesterday and it worked like a charm. I used lime instead of lemon as a trial since I only had one chance with the lemon and wanted to practice first. To my surprise it worked the first time around and the lime was unobtrusive and added an interesting layer to the white asparagus! Thanks a million!

Chef John said...

see, you learned and improved the recipe!

todd said...

Chef John,
You rock the house! Mine turned out excellent. I detest double boilers especially at home since I don't have a steam table going all the time.

Patrick Graham said...

OMG - I'm crying tears of joy!!!

Fourth attempt with the sauce and it worked!!!

My father introduced me to Eggs Benny when I was about 12 in a fancy restaurant. I loved it on bite and asked him if we could have it at home. He informed me that "as good a cook as mom is, nobody makes this at home".

And now, at age 45, cooking for three boys (and their friends) every night, I have made Eggs Benedict with fresh hollandaise sauce at home for me and five kids.

The unanimous consensus was "can we have more".

I will be putting hollandaise on everything from now on. I might eat my shoe with enough sauce!

Unbelievable!

For me, I used fresh croissants and smoked salmon instead of English muffins and Canadian bacon.

Chef, you rock!

Chef John said...

thanks!

Anonymous said...

I am not much of a cook but I did this and it seemed to come out great.... until I tasted it. Even though my eggs were fresh, it had a rancid flavor. My friend and I guess that the lemon juice was giving it this flavor. I think maybe my lemon was too big and half of it was too much juice. Does this make any since what so ever???

Laika81 said...

If it tasted rancid are u sure your butter was fresh? Rancid is a term usually reserved for oils and fats gone bad and is a pretty unique flavor/smell profile once you've been exposed to it consciously (sort of bitter/burnt like aroma). Otherwise perhaps you didn't heat your yolks long enough. I've done that to where it makes the Hollandaise taste like, well, raw egg. The last component is the lemon which is what you were suspecting. Lemons will ferment if they're old, like any other fruit, and will have a sort of sickly sweet off-taste. That's a taste most ppl are familiar with from say an old orange or fruit salad for example. I hope that helps! :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting!
I am wondering whether I could do this method on an electric stove top as well?

perionan said...

i made it!! I made the Hollandaise! And I also have an electric stove but I had to put my metal bowl in a pot of boiling water...

Eggs Benedict is my husband's absolute favorite breakfast, and I made it for him this morning. He said it was the best he's ever had. I'm so happy! I wouldn't have been able to do it without you Chef John. I managed to keep my fear level to a minimum1

Greg said...

Wow. Unbelievable! I've always wanted to try making a hollandaise sauce and based on look and texture it came out great the first time. The problem is I've never tasted a hollandaise sauce so I don't know if it taste right. It seems a bit on the sour side so I'm guessing I have too much lemon in it. All in all very pleased.

Anonymous said...

Chef John, I have only found you this past week, and have already successfully made Some of your recipes, and I am EXCITED! I live in Tasmania, Australia, so some things I have to guess at, especially terms like a "stick and a half" of butter. What is this in terms of weight? I am trying this tonight, but it is going to be all guess work for that reason. Is there ANY way you can give us a metric measurement of these weights please? I would so appreciate it. I am a reasonable cook, and LOVE cooking good food, but I am NO natural. Any help would be appreciated. I LOVE YOUR VIDEOS!!! You are truly AWESOME!! :)

Chef John said...

i dont do metric, but its 2 oz or 58 grams, but for future ref, just convert with google! thanks!

Anonymous said...

Wait, a 'stick and a half' of butter would be 6 oz wouldn't it? 4 sticks to a pound, which is 16 oz.

Love, love, love your videos!

Anonymous said...

Hi John!

I did this recipe but halved the ingredients except the egg yolk. So I used 2 egg yolks, 3/4 stick of butter and 1/4 of lemon. The sauce seperated but I managed to save it by adding an ice cube and stirred it over iced water. The texture was fine after that. But the taste was a little bit too sour and too buttery. The taste just didnt balance up.

Is it just my measurements of the ingredients and the freshness of the ingredients? Or there was something wrong in my cooking method. I have never tasted hollandaise sauce before this, by the way.

Amazing site by the way! Thanks so much.

Peter Sices said...

Never made hollandaise and in fact I've never tasted it; but, I followed this procedure and it came out great...except I think because my grocery carries large lemons it came out waaaayyyy too sour. I will have to halve that next time.