Everybody deserves restaurant-worthy brunches from the comfort of home. But if Benedicts are your go-to brunch order, horror stories of finicky hollandaise sauce might have you too scared to try making them at home.
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Indeed, the classic method for preparing hollandaise is fussy and temperamental: You painstakingly whisk clarified butter into a bowl of egg yolks set over a pan of barely simmering water, carefully monitoring the temperature and thickness to ensure that the emulsion doesn’t break. (Traumatic culinary school memories have me quivering just typing that.)
But what if I told you there’s an easier way that involves letting your blender do all the hard work for you? You start by whizzing together egg yolks, lemon juice, and salt (plus a pinch of cayenne if you’d like) in a standard blender. Then, with the machine still running, drizzle in hot (but not too hot) melted butter and watch hollandaise magic take place before your eyes.
The same concept can work with an immersion blender; just place the blade in the bottom of a 2-cup liquid measuring cup with the same egg yolk mixture. Add the hot butter and slowly pull the blender toward the surface of the sauce until it’s emulsified.
You might have to adjust the consistency with a little hot water (the sauce should be thin enough to easily cloak the entire egg but thick enough to coat a spoon), but that’s it!
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The same concept can work with béarnaise sauce, a variation on hollandaise with white wine vinegar and tarragon (also delicious draped over eggs or steaks).
Oh, and if it’s the poached eggs that are giving you the heebie-jeebies? There are some easy strategies to make those more failproof. Add some vinegar to the poaching liquid to keep the egg whites more intact. Crack the eggs into a liquid measuring cup or teacups before poaching so that you can pick out shells and have a handle for adding the eggs. And while the eggs are poaching, pull the pan off the heat and cover it so that the eggs can very gently cook until the whites are just set but the yolks are slightly runny.
To give it a whirl, try out our recipe for Asparagus and Smoked Salmon Benedicts: broiled asparagus and smoked salmon on a toasted English muffin all topped with a poached egg and browned butter hollandaise. The whole thing comes together in less than an hour (but will look like you spent all morning making it)!