I truly enjoy eggs benedict. More so, I derive great pleasure from hollandaise sauce. Part of the reason for the pure enjoyment I get from these bound culinary delights derives from my childhood and the association of Christmas morning and eggs benedict. In my family, the two go hand in hand. When I was younger, I could not make hollandaise sauce. Rather, I just griddled english muffins, topped them with canadian bacon, added a poached egg and a slice of american cheese. (Mind you, this is an exceptional breakfast, one we still serve today in which the only addition is an avocado salsa and perhaps bacon instead of ham.) Yet, I am getting off the subject which is hollandaise sauce. Because I was unable to make hollandaise sauce in my youth, it became a sort of culinary stepping stone. Once I figured out how to make it consistently, I became an integral part of Christmas morning preparations.
However, hollandaise sauce and its influence on me has always pushed me further. I have stood over bowls whipping egg yolks and reductions and emulsifying in butter. Unfortunately, time is always of the essence, as is stove space and a need for staff. I have adopted a streamlined method to hollandaise sauce which has been published in many cookbooks and scoffed at by many chefs. I use a blender. I put hot sauce, lemon or yuzu juice and salt in the blender with mostly egg yolks and a whole egg. Simultaneously, I make brown butter which when dark enough to my taste, I pour slowly into the whirling egg mixture in the blender. The heat from the butter cooks the eggs and a thick emulsion occurs. Sometimes, the mixture gets a bit thick so I add some warm water or more citrus juice to loosen the mixture depending on the taste. Once the sauce is made, I put it in a double boiler to use as needed.
One of the benefits of making hollandaise sauce in the blender is a time factor. You can make it quickly and almost to order so that it is fresh and does not sit in a water bath. However, if like us, you are also assisting tables, carrying bags, discussing house keeping and maintenance issues, all in the middle of cooking meals, a blender becomes a bit loud and cumbersome and timing becomes more of an issue.
I needed to make hollandaise sauce that could be reheated. I was not looking to replicate the powders and jars of hollandaise sauce available to the masses. Remember, hollandaise sauce is important to me. I needed to make a whole butter, organic egg, fresh citrus hollandaise sauce which could be made in advance, cooled and reheated in small amounts to order without separating or curdling while retaining the pure aesthetic and tastes of hollandaise sauce.
Over this past weekend we have made that reheatable hollandaise sauce. Now imagine the possibilities and derivations of that, from chicken stuffed with a true emulsified hollandaise to never having to keep a double boiler on the stove or worrying about the freshness of the sauce or whether over the period of service it will separate. Today, we are just begining.