Well, yesterday morning I decided to have a go at tackling two things at once that have been scaring me for a long time. And that is poaching and egg and making Hollandaise sauce.
Yesterday morning’s breakfast was not photographed, seeing as it looked as if I had thrown up on my own plate. Ew.
It was tasty, I’m not saying it tasted like vomit – but the Hollandaise texture was nowhere near what it was supposed to be, and the eggs were a little under-poached. I even managed to burn the toast. (This should have been a hint that I should have stayed in bed…) But then, it was well-deserved. You shouldn’t treat Hollandaise as an enemy to tackle. It should be treated like your own, loving, caring mother who needs your care because she’s got the flu.
And so I did that this morning. Now, the fun part of my egg-poaching process is that I’m doing the cheats version. Lakeland, a very good cooking shop I recently discovered, sells small poach pods that are made of silicone and thus are heatproof to about 270 degrees; they are easy to handle, they look cute, and they work so very well!
They look something like this:
Aren’t they adorable? All you have to do is coat the insides with a bit of olive oil, pop them in simmering water and put the lid on. They cook beautifully in about 3-4 minutes, and come out something like this:
This is my very first poached egg – egg, these are my readers. Isn’t she cute? I also put a pillow of toast underneath which I cut out with the rim of a glass to make it round shaped – sadly, you won’t be seeing this masterpiece when it comes to the final form of my egg Benedict. You will taste it though!
So on to the Hollandaise it was. Now there are so many versions on the Internet that you can easily get confused with measurements and techniques and everything in general, so my best advice is: don’t mix and match. Choose one recipe and stick with it.
Not that I did. I’m too hot-headed.
This technique makes enough sauce for about one person, so read accordingly (forever alone…). So I started by scrambling one egg yolk in a heatproof bowl, not too much, just to not have it in full yolk form. Then I popped in on top of my bain-marie and started whisking, then quickly added the lemon juice (half of a lemon will do just fine). I also added about a tablespoon of water and then it’s on to the whisking.
In the meantime (that’s a lie – do this beforehand!), I melted a generous cube of butter in another saucepan and then tried to trim off the white foam of the top. It’s almost impossible, but the more you can get off, the better. In the end, when you’re pouring this, luckily the white stuff stays on the bottom so you can separate the butter pretty well. This is called clarifying the butter by the way.
Okay, so take your clarified butter and pour it into your egg mixture on the bain-marie little by little while whisking as well. Then keep whisking your egg mixture until you get a thick, creamy texture that reminds you of Bechamel. A very yellow and sour Bechamel.
It is also good to sometimes take your bowl off of the heat – if it’s an aluminium bowl like mine, it will heat up really nicely and will keep the heat in the bottom. If you take it off from time to time, you will keep the eggs from scrambling and also keep the heat under control. You don’t want your sauce to boil.
So when it was all done and it was time to celebrate, I finished the dish with a tiny pinch of grated Pecorino (because cheese is just good, always) and this is what came out:
Ah, gosh, I’m getting emotional! There’s not many things as rewarding as making egg Benedict and making it right.
It was absolutely delicious. I’ve never even had Hollandaise before (how do you know it was good then, moron? Boo – I understand. But it was tasty so it was good, that’s that) but I will definitely be making this in the future.
I hope this was encouraging enough for you to try this! It really isn’t as scary as it looks.