Coast Cooking

Here’s how to get the hollandaise sauce right


Special to the Sun Herald

Eggs Benedict makes good use of a hollandaise sauce.
Eggs Benedict makes good use of a hollandaise sauce.

This week we’re blogging about sauces. Many a home cook could pick their game up substantially if they plucked up their courage and started making a few of the classic sauces.

Most of the basic sauces are easy to master, but a few, such as hollandaise sauce, can play a few tricks on you.

Hollandaise has lots of delicious applications, none better than eggs Benedict. Many local restaurants ramp up eggs Benedict by using crab cakes, fried green tomatoes, lump crab meat, or just thick cut ham. All are delicious, and all should be tried.

Hollandaise sauce is an emulsion sauce of butter and egg yolk, two things that do not normally combine. When your technique is right, you will end up with a scrumptious, thick sauce, but if you don’t get it right, the sauce will break and be thin and unusable.

Here’s how to make it.

Separate 4 egg yolks, and lightly whisk, keep one stick of butter cold, but cut into 4 equal parts. In a double boiler, or bain Marie, making sure the water does not come to a boil, add the egg yolks, and 1 piece of butter. Whisk until the butter has melted, add the next piece of butter and proceed until all of the butter is gone. Your sauce should be thick, and delicious. Season with a pinch of salt, a pinch of cayenne, and a little lemon juice.  Keep the sauce in the bain Marie, but keep the heat low, or you will end up with scrambled eggs.