Julia Child’s Hollandaise Sauce with Poached Eggs
As promised after “Cooking with Nick,” I made poached eggs with hollandaise sauce, method and recipe courtesy of Julia Child. I’ll be honest and tell you I don’t like poached eggs or hollandaise (Frank, however, orders it whenever we have breakfast out), so this was a bit of a stretch for me. I liked poaching the eggs right into the simmering pot of water, and spooning the whites around the yolk to give it a shape (you’ll remember that scene if you’ve seen Julie & Julia); Frank even offered advise to swirl the water in one direction to help the whites make a shape, which worked beautifully. Now, for the hollandaise. I think I’ve tried it once or twice in my life and don’t remember is being nearly as…buttery. Julia’s recipe is insanely buttery, and I even cut out a good portion of the butter called for. I also felt it needed some spice, like cayenne, which other recipes I’ve since researched, do call for. My confusion is here, though: As I’m looking up different recipes for hollandaise sauce and eggs benedict hollandaise sauce, I find very similar recipes to that of Julia’s, all seemingly intensely buttery. So when I look at Frank’s eggs benedict across the table from me at a restaurant, with everything drowning in hollandaise sauce and he’s saying it’s delicious and not overly buttery, then what recipe are they using? As you’ll see in the picture above, I clearly thought I had made perfect hollandaise and following suit of diners across America, poured on the sauce. Ooops. We got through one and a half, and then called it quits with a butter-ache.
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, if needed (or more)
- 6-8 ounces very soft unsalted butter
- 1 dash cayenne pepper
- salt, to taste
- fresh ground white pepper, to taste
- Whisk the yolks, water, and lemon juice in the saucepan for a few moments, until thick and pale (this prepares them for what is to come).
- Set the pan over moderately low heat and continue to whisk at reasonable speed, reaching all over the bottom and insides of the pan, where the eggs tend to overcook.
- To moderate the heat, frequently move the pan off the burner for a few seconds, and then back on. (If, by chance, the eggs seem to be cooking too fast, set the pan in the bowl of cold water to cool the bottom, then continue).
- As they cook, the eggs will become frothy and increase in volume, and then thicken. When you can see the pan bottom through the streaks of the whisk and the eggs are thick and smooth, remove from the heat
- By spoonfuls, add the soft butter, whisking constantly to incorporate each addition. As the emulsion forms, you may add the butter in slightly larger amounts, always whisking until fully absorbed. Continue incorporating butter until the sauce has thickened to the consistency you want
- Season lightly with salt, pepper, and a dash of cayenne pepper, whisking in well. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding droplets of lemon juice if needed. Serve lukewarm.
Go here to poach an egg.