Sunday, April 4, 2010

Spring is here

I know spring is here because I'm making hollandaise sauce. Why? It's Easter. My neighbor's eggs are coming in fast and furious. The asparagus isn't up at our house yet, but it's cheap at the grocery store. The combination of Easter, ham, asparagus, and hollandaise sauce is completely irresistible to me.

Now, you can probably get all sorts of recipes for hollandaise sauce on the net, but I don't need to. My dad taught me how to make it years ago. It's way easier than you think, especially if you know his special trick.

Hollandaise Sauce

2 egg yolks
1/4 lb butter (1 stick)
juice of 1 lemon or 2 Tablespoon lemon juice
dash cayenne pepper

Melt half of the butter on low heat in heavy bottom pot. (You could also use a double boiler, but I don't bother.)

Whisk egg yolks and lemon together in bowl until smooth and bright yellow.

Dad's special trick: Don't let the pot get hotter than you can stand to touch. Cup your whole hand around the pan and hold it there to get the temperature right. It should feel warm, not hot. If your stove heat doesn't go low enough take it on and off the heat as necessary.

Temper egg yolks by whisking in 2 Tablespoons of warm melted butter, one Tbls at a time.

Slowly and gently dribble egg mixture into warm (not hot) pot with butter, whisking the whole time.

Add the rest of the butter, one slice at a time as each melts. Whisk constantly. Continue to heat gently until just thickened.

Take off heat, whisk in a dash of cayenne and serve of veggies, eggs, ham, or just dig in with a spoon.

Notes and modifications:

Whisk, whisk, whisk... I like the sound of that word. :-)

This isn't as hard as it seems reading it. In reality, I usually over-heat the first bit of melted butter, take it off the heat, whisk the eggs and lemon, get distracted by the toast or a child, and come back to find everything cold. It still turns out. The only part that needs attention is the part where you're adding the egg stuff to the warm butter and whisking in the butter slices. It usually takes me less than 5 minutes for that part, and that reward is well worth ignoring the children and toast for a tiny bit.

Save the egg whites, you can make meringue cookies or divinity.
OK. I guess you could also do something healthy like mix them into an omelet. Oooh, and then you could pour hollandaise sauce over it!

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