Don't you love Hollandaise sauce? Mmmm. I do. Over Eggs Benedict, or yumming up some asparagus? Sign me up. Or maybe just to eat by the spoonful? Well, if you insist.
So I wondered, last night as I'm getting ready to make some dinner, how it was that I loved Hollandaise, and I enjoyed cooking, and yet I'd never attempted a real Hollandaise? And hey, I bet if I made some Hollandaise to go over the asparagus I'm planning on roasting tonight, Marc might actually enjoy it instead of leaving most of it on his plate as he tends to do? So I checked the fridge - do I have all the ingredients? Egg yolks, butter, lemon juice. Check, check, and check. Then I checked my skills - do I have what it takes? Well, I've done a beautiful citrus beurre blanc, I can do a mean balsamic browned butter sauce, and I can do a vinaigrette with one hand tied behind my back. So YEAH, I've got the skills. Let's get to it, baby.
By the way, do you know just how much butter goes into Hollandaise? If you are afraid of knowing, you should avert your eyes from what's about to come.
Ack! I tried to warn you! DO NOT LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE BUTTER!
Alright, so I'm a-whiskin, and adding the butter - cube by cube! - and this part was all too handsy for me to manage any decent photographs. So let me assure you that all was going well. The color was right, I wasn't curdling (and when I was afraid I was about to, I just did what my pal Nigella taught me and stirred in a little ice chip, and all was well - NOT THAT THIS IS FORESHADOWING OF MY DOOMY DOWNFALL, OR ANYTHING!) and things were thickening up nicely. Add the lemon juice, now. Ok, all is still well.
Uh oh. Is it supposed to be this thick? This feels like mayonaise. This can't be right. This isn't sauce - it will be way too gloppy! HALP! I know - another little ice chip. That will thin things out nicely. (I can hear your warning screams, you know. It's just that it's too late. I've already been a moron.)
And, it's official. My sauce is broken, and so is my heart. In case the above photo isn't enough to convince you that the sauce, once thick and creamy, is ruined, then just check out what happened when I decided to pour it over the asparagus anyway:
Now I'll never get Marc to eat asparagus.