For our lab last week, we were making sauces, specifically veloute, allemande and hollandaise. I decided to make the hollandaise after I made the first two because I knew it was a slightly meticulous process. When the first two sauces were done, I set out to make that which is so deceptively simple but incredibly dreaded. A few minutes in, as I was whisking the egg yolks, the unthinkable happened: it became scrambled eggs! Now I’m trying to sound like some dude who sees everything half full: all I need is rice and beef tapa and I’m all set. And, at least I now know of another (albeit impractical and downright unnecessary) way to cook scrambled eggs.
But long story short, I didn’t have any hollandaise to present. My ass was kicked.
I couldn’t really go through this process without
vindication learning from my mistakes. I want to put it out there: I know how to make hollandaise! (and it won’t be the death of me).
I don’t have a lot of kitchen space and equipment, so the setup is rather cumbersome. I added some water to simmer in a pot, and used the steamer that came with the rice cooker to help stabilize my bowl. In went the butter for it to melt. (confession: I used cheap, not so real butter).
Then I combined vinegar and minced shallots in a pan. Set it over low – medium heat to let the liquid reduce. After it has reduced, I took it out of the heat and “refreshed” it with a bit of cold water, then placed it back over the heat. I then strained it over a bowl.
In that same bowl I added two egg yolks, then whisked it over the simmering water. Obviously, this was my pressure point. Thankfully, the heavens parted and yolks didn’t scramble (!!!). You’re looking for minimal froth and a thicker consistency. I took it out of the heat to finish the process.
Slowly and carefully, I ladled a small amount of butter at a time into the yolk mixture and whisked. I continued that process until the mixture is thick, coats the back of the spoon, and I can lift the whisk and draw an infinity sign over the surface. (not pictured)
I finished it off with a few drops of lemon juice, because I didn’t want it to be sour. I think the mixture could have been thicker but overall I was pleased with the outcome.
Yes, that’s the back of a clean plate. At least I hope it was clean. If I turned back time and tried to make this during lab, I don’t know if the result would be the same. This was practically the first time in a long while that I’ve made hollandaise, and yeah, I could say that I redeemed myself a bit. I may or may not have danced like an idiot after it was all done. I’m not saying.
Earlier this morning our instructor made hollandaise again, just to emphasize a point that it can be done. I think it was the best hollandaise I’ve had so far because he brought hollandaise home – it’s a butter sauce after all, and it tasted like butter and so much more. It wasn’t painfully tart, and I could totally imagine that kind of sauce with eggs benedict. In other words, my weekend will be filled with hollandaise.