Michel Roux Jr’s hollandaise
- May 2013
- Hands-on time 20 minutes
Make hollandaise like a pro with this recipe from culinary legend Michel Roux Jr, who oversees the food at five-star hotel The Langham, London and headed up much-garlanded restaurant Le Gavroche for over 30 years. Here he shares the perfect sauce and gives tips on how to get the perfect consistency.
“This is one of the most versatile sauces you can have in your repertoire. Plain hollandaise is wonderful with poached eggs, as in eggs benedict, as well as with fresh asparagus and steamed fish. Classic variations include béarnaise sauce, with tarragon and shallot added, which is perfect with steak. Add a little reduced tomato purée to to béarnaise to make choron sauce (good with fish). Another variation is mousseline sauce, in which double cream is added at the end to enrich the hollandaise.”
Want to learn more from Michel Roux Jr? The chef also oversees cookery school Sauce by The Langham in London, where he hosts exclusive masterclasses.
- 250g unsalted butter
- 2 tsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tsp cracked white peppercorns
- Good pinch of sea salt
- 4 medium free-range egg yolks (see tip)
- Lemon juice to taste
- Melt the butter in a small pan over a low heat until it foams. Spoon off and discard the foam, then leave the pan on the side until the butter settles. Skim off the clarified (clear) butter with a spoon, discarding the whitish residue underneath.
- Boil the vinegar in another small pan with the pepper and salt until reduced by half, then remove (off the heat, add 2 tsp water and strain into a heavy-based pan. Cool a little, then add the egg yolks and put over a low heat. With a balloon whisk, whisk until the egg yolks are light and creamy (About 8-10 minutes). Don’t let the mixture get too hot, otherwise the eggs will scramble.
- Remove from the heat and, whisking continuously, slowly pour in the clarified butter. Whisk until the sauce is thick and smooth. Add lemon juice and salt to taste. Keep warm until ready to use (see Tips).
And here’s how to use it…
Poached eggs with asparagus and hollandaise
2 tsp white wine vinegar
Bowl of ice cold water
16-20 British asparagus spears, any woody ends cut off
Warm hollandaise sauce, as above
Bring a wide pan of water to the boil and add the vinegar. Reduce to a simmer. Crack a duck egg into a small ramekin, swirl a spoon in the water to make a whirlpool, then slip the egg into the centre. Poach for 3-4 minutes until just set, then remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl of ice-cold water. Repeat with the other 3 eggs. Blanch the asparagus in boiling water for 2-3 minutes until tender, then refresh in ice-cold water.
When ready to serve, briefly warm the asparagus spears in a pan of lightly simmering water, then divide among 4 warmed plates. Slip all the cooked eggs back into the simmering water and cook for 30 seconds more, drain briefly on kitchen towel to remove excess water and place on top of the asparagus. Spoon over the warm hollandaise and serve immediately.
Whisk the eggs with the vinegar until creamy and mousse-like, similar to a sabayon. As you beat, the mixture should begin to hold its shape and when you lift the whisk out it should form a soft peak.
Michel’s tip: Hollandaise is almost impossible to reheat so, once it’s made, cover it loosely with a cloth and set it near a hob to keep warm.
Egg whites freeze well, so save them for meringues or egg-white omelettes. Whisk lightly, then freeze for up to 3 months in freezer bags – write on the amount of egg whites and their weight. Defrost in the fridge, allowing them to come back to room temperature before using.
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