Blender Hollandaise with Roasted Asparagus

There is always that bottle of store-bought mayonnaise sitting on the refrigerator door. Is there any chance that it’d go away for a vacation once and a while? I wonder. Hollandaise is similar to mayonnaise in many respects. They are egg-emulsified butter sauce, except hollandaise is served hot. Since I’ve never made either one of these sauces, may be it’s high time to give it a try. I am making hollandaise for the mother sauce challenge this week with other home cooks at IHCC. Sounds fun, or treacherous?

Can you guess which one of the five mother sauces IHCC home cooks gravitate to? Bechamel, hollandaise, veloute, tomato or espanole?

Being a mother sauce, hollandaise is the foundation for many derivatives created by adding or changing ingredients, such as the béarnaise sauce or sauce mousseline. Clearly, there are good reasons to embrace the hollandaise sauce. What’s preventing me from jumping in with both feet is the apprehension over numerous occasions previously when I came face to face with a curdled and broken sauce. Not quite ready for more horrors.

My challenge here is to find not only a sound and reliable methodology to make a hollandaise sauce that works for me, but to uncover ways to prevent the egg-butter sauce from curdling and breaking.

Jacques Pepin has two recipes for hollandaise sauce, the classic and the quick blender one. The classic method requires whipping eggs with a whisk in a double boiler over simmering water for 8 to 10 minutes, the way to prepare a sabayon. That does not appeal to me. So I went for the blender recipe which makes a good sauce, as Pepin explained, but with a firmer texture, not as delicate and light as the classic method.

I carefully followed the blender hollandaise recipe, but made a few necessary changes. The recipe calls for 3 sticks of unsalted butter with 4 large egg yolks. I reduced the amount of butter by half. By doing so, the resulting sauce is lighter and healthier with lower fat content. Instead of melting the butter in a saucepan over low heat, I melted the butter in the microwave oven for about one minute. The sauce takes almost no time to make. To me, this effortless hollandaise is a success — especially for a sauce that is known to require a fair amount of skill and practice to prepare. Horror averted for the time being!

The making of this blender hollandaise may be effortless, but you still have to be mindful on the execution part. Here are some pointers I’ve found helpful in stabilizing the hollandaise sauce and lowering the risks of curdling and separating:

• All the ingredients should be at room temperature since warmth speeds the transfer of emulsifiers from the yolk particles to the fat droplet surfaces, and bonding them to each other.
• Hot melted butter heats the egg yolks just enough to thicken the emulsion, but not as much the yolk proteins coagulate into little solid curds. This happens at around 160°-170°F.
• Heating the yolks with lemon juice (or other acid) also minimizes curdling.
• Blend slowly at first and more rapidly as the emulsion thickens.
• The sauce is best held at around 145°F. Keep it warm to prevent the butter from solidifying.

• To revive a sauce that has been refrigerated, add one tablespoon of warm water while whisking the sauce to melt the butterfat crystals.

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Kim
    July 26, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    You are always brave in your choices each week and I really admire that! Hollandaise is so very yummy and is wonderful served over all sorts of things. Love it with the asparagus as you have pictured here, but I'm aching to try it over breakfast potatoes for the ultimate indulgence. So happy to see you adapted this to use less butter and it worked! That's a huge victory!

  • Reply
    TeaLady
    July 29, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    This sounds like a hollandaise even I could make. My last was a total total total failure. Thanks for sharing!!

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