Herbed Quick Hollandaise Sauce (Plus a Dairy-Free Option)

Hollandaise Sauce
From Chef Oonagh Williams of Gluten-Free Cooking with Oonagh

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz. butter (1+1/2 sticks) – substitute melted coconut oil for dairy-free
  • 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) genuine white wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. (30ml) fresh lemon juice strained of pips
  • 4 large egg yolks – remove from fridge ½ hour before using
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • Add 2 Tbsp, fresh chopped mint OR 2 Tbsp. fresh chopped dill for fish dish plus some lemon zest OR
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon thyme plus some lemon zest

Note: Add herbs little at a time. It’s easy to add more, but not so easy to remove a strong herb.

Directions:

  1. Put the butter in a small pan and allow it to melt slowly.
  2. Place wine vinegar and lemon juice in another small saucepan and heat to just below boiling. Watch this one carefully, since the vinegar evaporates on heating and fumes can take your breath away. I find if I try to heat the butter or lemon mixes in the microwave they tend to explode or boil over since it is such a little quantity. Do not boil coconut oil as it will curdle eggs. Let coconut oil just melt.
  3. Meanwhile, blend the egg yolks, sugar and salt in a food processor. (If you have a large processor you will find it helps to put about one inch of books under the side away from the tube to tilt the processor so all the mix is at one side as you pour, and the egg mix stays in a puddle at one side of processor.
  4. With the motor still switched on, gradually add the hot lemon and vinegar mix through the tube. When the butter/coconut oil is hot, start to pour this in very slowly in a thin trickle with the motor running all the time, until all the butter is added and the sauce is thickened. Add the lemon juice and butter in this order.  It didn’t thicken when I tried reversing the order just to test.  (Where we nowadays store eggs in the fridge they are normally too cold to thicken sufficiently at this stage). I have also made this with an immersion blender in a 4 cup jug if you don’t have a food processor.
  5. If it is not thick enough, pour thin hollandaise from processor into a glass, circular measuring jug or dish that is microwave safe. I use a 4 cup Pyrex/anchor hocking jug, then microwave in 10 second increments at 10% power until thickened, stirring each time the microwave stops. Normally, it only takes 2 or 3 start/stops, but it does depend on temperature of eggs and heat of other liquids. The sauce is ready when it is a bit thinner than made instant pudding or whipped heavy cream. When you stir the sauce with a metal spoon, it should be possible to draw a line through the sauce on the back of the spoon and have the sauce stay in two separate sections either side of the empty center line.
  6. Stir in herbs that match well with your entree.

Note: Microwaves are now far more powerful, so use only 10% power to start with until you are sure of how powerful your microwave is. Microwave, stir well with a whisk, microwave again if necessary.  It will quite clearly thicken. Don’t cook on high power or you will end up with scrambled eggs.

The FDA says that eggs need to be cooked to 160 degrees to avoid salmonella. I find it impossible to cook the hollandaise to this temperature without it curdling. As Julia Child said, if you buy fresh eggs from a reputable source, store correctly and use correctly you should have no problems. Many New York chefs are now returning to recipes with under-cooked eggs with no ill effects on clients.

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