The Hollandaise Hassle

I’ve been watching a lot of cooking shows lately and looking especially at the competitive ones, it’s obvious that making Hollandaise sauce is considered a basic skill. I’m not sure I’ve ever had a hollandaise made from scratch. In fact, I think I’ve only eaten Hollandaise when at my parents’ and while I’m pretty sure my mom is fully able to make a real one, we’ve only had powder sauce as far as I know. Since emulsified sauces seem to often be a hurdle for amateurs in competition shows I figured it was best to do some research before starting to separate eggs.

While the Internet is good for many a thing, the scores upon scores of foodie blogs (calling the kettle black here, yes) can be more hindrance than help sometimes. I turned instead to mrs. Child. The Hollandaise recipe in the Swedish paperback edition of Mastering the Art of French Cooking covers a page and a half, which meant it was going to be too meticulous. I figured Ginette Mathiot’s Je sais Cuisiner  would be more down to business, and indeed, the recipe was only 14 lines long. With the combined wisdom of the two grande dames of French cuisine under my belt I got cracking.

Since Hollandaise is pretty labor intensive, I wasn’t able to pause for photographs, but I can tell you that, while I was a bit nervous at times, it certainly wasn’t as tricky as expected. Or I’m just a natural, who knows…

After completing a lovely lovely sauce (or as Gordon Ramsay would say – ‘THE most amazing’) I turned to a small container of egg whites that was surplus to requirements. I don’t like to waste perfectly fine food, so I did the only thing I could think of; meringues.

To be honest I don’t like meringues  very much and have therefore not made any in the last 20 years. Since they didn’t turn out all that great, either because of insufficient beating, too much beating or not enough sugar, I shall not linger on the subject, but will still insert a picture of when they were still looking good. (Time to clean the oven door though)

Moving on, I needed something to serve the sauce with. It’s very good on its own of course, but doesn’t really constitute a proper meal. In my experience, Hollandaise is, in Sweden that is, pretty much only served with poached fish, but the scripture indicated that it goes well with other stuff. Vegetables for example.

In reality I had already planned to serve the sauce with vegetables and decided on mushrooms and zucchini. Since the mushrooms in the store were such pretty ones I made quite a large batch.

While the mushrooms sauteeeeeeee away in their pan I turned my attention to the zucchini, which had already been sitting in brine for a couple of hours, the reason being that I find zucchini quite hard to season properly – everything you throw at it more or less bounces off.

The zucchini were poached using the pot that I used to melt the butter for the sauce, hoping for a subtle glaze and butter flavour. After poaching for a little while, the zucchini too went into the sauté pan to get a bit of a sear. Now, zucchini, mushrooms and Hollandaise sauce isn’t really the ideal meal either, so I ended up serving it like this:

Sautéed mushrooms and zucchini with Hollandaise sauce, rotini with mozzarella, salad of cucumber, tomato and fresh basil and garlic bread. Nice, light summer eating at its best.

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5 Responses to “The Hollandaise Hassle”

  1. Hollandaise sauce is a staple of Eggs Benedict too, which is the only time I ever made or used it, but would be very happy to try it in this application.http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/eggs_benedict/

  2. I got hungry just by looking at your post! =)

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