Friday, January 4, 2013

Julia Child's Hollandaise Sauce

Photo credit
Last week, I had a little extra free time to watch a few episodes from Julia Child's old TV show, "The French Chef" which originally aired in the 60's and 70's.  I had never seen this cooking icon in action before and what an experience!  All of her shows were taped without the benefit of editing or breaks.  Just 28 minutes of pure education and entertainment.

I was inspired, then, when I found that we were having grilled steak for dinner and I had a small amount of smoked salmon left, probably about the equivalent of 1/2 - 2/3 cup is all.  So while Tom was grilling the steak, I flaked the salmon and heated it in a skillet.  Then I made a batch of Hollandaise first ever...and it was a raging success.  To serve, I topped each steak with 1-2 heaping tablespoons of smoked salmon and then spooned a generous amount of Hollandaise sauce over the top of each steak.  I wish I had taken my son's advice and taken a picture of our meal because it was not only beautiful, it was absolutely to-die-for.

So, here is Julia's master recipe for Hollandaise sauce.  And as she would always say at the end of her shows, "Bon appetit!"

Julia Child's Hollandaise Sauce
makes about 1-1/2 cups
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1 T water
  • 1/4 t salt
  • pinch cayenne (or 4 shakes of Tabasco)
  • 4 grinds black pepper
  • 6-8 oz. unsalted butter
  1. 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).  
  2. 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. 
  3. 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). 
  4. 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. 
  5. 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. 
  6. Season lightly with salt, pepper, and a dash of cayenne pepper, whisking in well. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding droplets of lemon juice to thin if needed. Serve lukewarm.

1 comment:

  1. Elizabeth O'ReillyJanuary 6, 2013 at 8:16 PM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.