Wednesday, 8 April 2009

In search of the perfect Hollandaise

Rita was treated last Sunday morning to her most favoured breakfast of Eggs Benedict, courtesy of Nellie and Mr Nellie. Mr Nellie was allocated the preparation and cooking of everything except the Hollandaise sauce, with Nellie bravely accepting the Hollandaise challenge!

Unbeknown to Rita, Nellie actually hadn’t ever made a Hollandaise before. I had assumed her previous reluctance to indulge her mother on similar family breakfast occasions was due to her dislike of finicky breakfasts rather than the fact that she hadn’t tackled the mythical Hollandaise.

For myself, the Hollandaise has always been the hugest source of frustration, and pleasure. My feeling about Hollandaise is that it is the most glorious of sauces. I love its purity of flavour, and the way it highlights the ingredients both contained in it, plus those underneath it when it tops an Eggs Benedict. But it has also frustrated the utter crap out of me on countless occasions when my sauce has separated, despite my paying the utmost attention to everything going on at that moment! Time and time again over a period of a couple of years I attempted this seemingly simple sauce before I got it totally right, and even now, there’s no way I would easily and casually say to someone “Let’s have Eggs Benedict, and I’ll make it now…” Bejesus, no way!

That accounts for the reason why I’m such a harsh judge of restaurants who wimp out and use the fake Hollandaise in place of a true freshly made one. If I suspect a restaurant will resort to this, I will pass on my favourite Eggs Benedict, and select something else in preference to possible disappointment. It’s perfection or nothing for me!

So, it was with huge interest (and quite a lot of hidden anxiety) that I watched my Nellie (queen of the kitchen) tackle the Hollandaise on Sunday. She used her food processor, and it worked! It worked well. It was stunning. I was mega-impressed.

Nellie says she was inspired by our heroine, the local ex-food blogger, much mourned Food Kitty, who whipped up a quick Hollandaise to add to the fresh asparagus she was serving one day at lunch. Apparently Kitty chatted amiably while creating her one minute sauce in the processor, and had all at lunch dumbfounded! Would that Rita could pull off a coup like that!

Posted on by Rita


Anonymous said...

with the risk of offending every chef/cook and foodie passionista in hobart and on Rita's blog... i think I make a pretty good hollandaise in the good old microwave... melt butter so not boiling or separated (first challenge), add to food processor with egg yolk or two and then slowly pour in lemon juice until consistency and flavour is to your liking... salt and pepper and voila... you dont even need to use a food processor if you are handy with the whisk... can even be done for those dairy intolerants with the lovely 'cant believe its not butter butter'. but real butter is worth the sacrifice!

Happy Easter... TJ

Tassiegal said...

Hey TJ,
I dont think thats sacraficial. I think its a good use of avaliable resources!

wayne from chiggers said...

Are youse a bunch off losersI open & pour the suff out just like the directions say on the packet, whats the big deal Its freaken easy!

Rita said...

Happy Easter Wayne!

sir grumpy said...

I just use HP Sauce. What have the Dutch to do with it anyway?

Anonymous said...

I had a fantastic hollandaise the other day at that little cafe called Darcy's on Hopkins street in Moonah - totally unassuming place but the food (and the hollandaise!) was really good and CHEAP! I usually avoid anywhere north of creek road like the plague, but moonah's got some good options nowadays...

hrv said...

The same things Grizzlys have to do with bearnaise.

Anonymous said...

I too have tried the fabulous hollandaise sauce at Darcy's with the fresh fish on Friday. Lovely restaurant, good wholesome food. Recommended.