(w/side of Toby's "bistro potatoes" and oven-roasted bacon, natch)
Behold my mother's day brunch. (You'll have to imagine the mimosa I had in my other hand.) And by brunch, I of course am referring to the glamorous hour of, oh... 8:30am. Ah, yes, toddler time.
Around these parts, we kick off special days with a nice brunch. Lately, that means something or other drizzled with homemade hollandaise sauce. "Fill-in-the-blank benedict." For me, I wanted roasted asparagus under those poached eggs and plenty of tarragon in the sauce (a deviation). I just finished that Julia Child book and she and Avis Devoto wax poetic about tarragon for pages. It's a must-have in my kitchen lately.
So, do you hollandaise? Bear in mind, dearies, that this oh-so-rich sauce (I was not hungry again until 6pm that day) was once regularly served over steak. Oooof. My point is that it was once a sauce well-known to the home cook. Today, not so much.
Our hollandaise is a bit of short-cut: we buzz it up in the blender faster than you can open another bottle of bub. For serious. Give it a try.
adapted from Joy of Cooking
:: Combine in a blender:
3 large egg yolks
2 t. fresh lemon juice
Pinch ground red pepper
1/2 t. salt
1 sprig of fresh tarragon
:: Pulse until tarragon is chopped and everything is combined evenly.
:: Heat until bubbling:
1/2 c. (1 stick) butter
:: Remove from heat. Turn blender on again. After about 3 seconds, pour in the butter in a steady stream. By the time the butter is completely added, the sauce should be nicely uniform. If not fully incorporated, continue blending for 5 seconds longer (don't over-blend). If too thick, thin with warm water. Serve immediately.
If you want to be terribly retro, give it a sprinkle of paprika (we forgot). Mmm, tastes like 1962.
As for the other required player in the Benedict story... poached eggs. Want to know how we do it? I used to be super intimidated, but now it's easy. There are many techniques out there, but here's ours:
:: In a straight-sided pan, heat ~2" water until just barely under a simmer (tiny bubbles, no real movement in the water).
:: Add a splash of white vinegar (some say it's not necessary, but I err on the safe side and use it).
:: To poach: crack an egg into a small prep bowl. Bring the bowl very close to the surface of the water and gently tip it in, minimizing movement as much as possible. Now, leave the egg alone (no touching!) for a few moments, until the whites start to go opaque. Then--very gently--take a large serving spoon and gently nudge the edges of the egg over and onto itself, trying to coax it into a neat shape. Be very delicate; less is more. Basically, you just don't want to move the egg too much while it's setting or it'll get squirrelly and messy. Trust me, I've been there.
:: Let the egg gently cook until all the white is opaque and cooked through (~3 minutes). If you're feeling confident, you can do multiple eggs at once.
:: Either serve immediately (blot dry with a clean kitchen towel) or save for later by chilling cooked eggs in an ice bath. Refrigerate for up to 24 hours, then re-heat in warm water for 5 minutes.
On Sunday, we did the cook-ahead method and I'll probably always do it this way. So easy!