“Most cookbooks assume that if the reader follows the recipe to the letter, they’ll get a dish right first time. This is so wrong. If you’re making hollandaise for the first time, you will, of course, screw it up”
Or so said Anthony Bourdain who was Gordon Ramsey before Gordon Ramsey and much much worse.
Making hollandaise is one of those sauces that inspires terror in the inexperience cook because of the possibility of either serving scrambled eggs or raw eggs. However with the technology we have today and for the home cook who pays attention it is possible to make a perfect hollandaise every time.
It’s not a sauce without issues though. The traditional method of coaxing it gently over a Bain Marie takes a long time and even those recipes that turn to a blender for a foaming hollandaise request you to separately beat your egg whites and then fold in, which takes more time and creates more washing up.
I’ve given you two options here. Ones for those with a food blender or processor, one done in a saucepan with an electric whisk. Both I have incorporated an egg white because, although it doesn’t quite produce a foaming hollandaise, it produces a lighter result and means you don’t waste an egg white.
Because you are using eggs which are only lightly cooked you should use high quality fresh eggs and in the UK that means those having the lion stamp. Hollandaise is made for immediate use. Discard any that is left over.
Time: 15 minutes
- 250g asparagus
- 1 egg
- 1/2 lime
- 60g butter which has been removed for the fridge for several hours chopped in to small cubes
The key here is preparation. Everything is done at the last minute so get everything prepped before you start.
Put a steamer on to heat up.
Trim the asparagus by snapping at the thickest end to remove any woodiness.
Place asparagus in steamer for 7 minutes.
Fill your sink with 1cm of cold water in case your pan gets too hot. Place egg and lime juice plus a tablespoon of water in a sauce pan that can take metal utensils. Beat on full speed for a minute with the whisk. Turn the heat on to a very low simmer and start adding the butter, whisking continually until it thickens. Remove from heat immediately and place in sink to prevent further cooking.
Place egg and lime in a blender or in a food processor with a whisk attachment. Blend on full speed for two minutes. Meanwhile heat the butter till bubbling. Pour the butter in a steady small stream on to the egg, keeping the blender going at full speed.
Remove asparagus from the steamer and serve with the hollandaise. If you are serving the hollandaise on top of the asparagus then let the asparagus cool slightly to prevent the sauce from scrambling in the heat.