Have you ever seen a TV chef make a hollandaise sauce? It is amazing to watch the eggs and butter come together to form a glorious pale yellow sauce. But the effort! Now I don’t mind effort in the kitchen, I will happily spend a few hours cooking a meal, but the effort to make a hollandaise sauce isn’t time, it’s physical effort. And that isn’t something I often embrace 😉 They whisk and whisk and whisk away; their arm muscles get a serious workout. I have tried it and I get arm ache within a minute…yes I am that weak!
Aside from the effort there is the constant worry that the sauce will split and everything will have to be thrown away! No, traditional hollandaise sauce is a non-starter for me, I am just not the arm aching, food throwing away kind of cook. Enter in Julia Child’s book “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”. In that she makes the most perfect hollandaise sauce and there isn’t a whisk in sight.
This hollandaise is creamy, thick, has a hint of lemon and is perfect for serving with your poached eggs or your asparagus, or numerous other amazing ways. I have listed a few at the end of the recipe…..straight from the bowl with a spoon isn’t one of the options….but don’t knock it until you have tried it 😳
As is my way (and most home cooks way) I have adapted the Julia Child’s recipe to suit my tastes and also to suit the dish I am serving it with, more lemon for a salmon dish or more pepper for a meatier fish. As for the pepper content, more often than not I will add a touch of cayenne pepper, but I do like the taste of white pepper in my hollandaise, so add your favourite pepper.
The recipe calls for unsalted butter and then adds additional salt. This is my preferred method as the salt content of butter does vary so much. That said, I am not a fan of unsalted butter on my toast, jacket potato etc, so we very rarely have it in the house ready for impromptu hollandaise sauce making. Trust me this sauce is still delicious if you use your preferred brand of salted butter. You will find that the salt content usually matches your tastes. If you do use salted butter, don’t add any extra salt until you have finished and tasted your sauce. Salted butter and extra salt can easily make this sauce inedible.
So hollandaise without a whisk? That’s right close the drawer you don’t need the whisk today. Here we are using a stick blender to turn these simple ingredients into the most wonderful hollandaise sauce. Julia uses a counter top blender and that works fabulously, but I am yet to replace my blender so when I made this today, I used the stick blender that was in our rental. The results were great, plus you have the added benefit that a stick blender is easier to clean.
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- 120 g unsalted butter (see notes)
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/4 tsp salt (see notes)
- Pinch of pepper - cayenne/white/black all work
- 1 tbsp lemon juice (AU tbsp = 20ml)
Place the butter in a small pan and melt to over a low heat. Don't allow the butter to brown and turn off the heat as soon as the butter is just melted.
Whilst the butter is melting, put the egg yolks, lemon juice, salt (if using) and pepper into a jug that the head of your blender fits into.
Blend the egg yolk mixture for a minute, until it lightens in colour and is well combined.
Keeping the blender in the jug, and with it running on the slowest setting, slowly pour over the hot melted butter.
As the sauce combines move the blender up through the sauce.
Check the sauce, it should be slightly lemony and lightly seasoned.
You can now add extra lemon, salt and pepper to taste. Add as required and give it a quick blend to combine.
This is best served immediately but if that isn't possible place the jug in a bowl of body temperate water for up to an hour.
*If using salted butter, omit the salt from the recipe.
Ways to use your Hollandaise Sauce.
- Eggs Benedict
- Dip your favourite steamed veg into it. Asparagus, carrots and green beans work well
- Use as a sauce for artichoke leaves
- Serve with boiled waxy potatoes as an alternative to aioli
- Add an extra dash of lemon juice and pour over salmon
- Pour over a fresh spinach and smoked salmon salad
- Add extra pepper and serve with seared tuna and fries
- Pour over a baked potato instead of the usual melted butter
- Leftover hollandaise solidifies. I rather enjoy that spread over hot toast 😳