This month, the Daring Cooks got a little saucy! Jenni from The Gingered Whisk taught us the basics of how to make the five mother-sauces and encouraged us to get creative with them, creating a wide variety of delicious, fresh sauces in our very own kitchens.
I chose to make the French classic – Hollandaise sauce – the trickiest of the ‘mother sauces’, as it has a tendency to split if overheated. Happily, I had no such problems with my Hollandaise and the result was a thick, velvety sauce perfect for dressing my Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon. I’m sure the reason it worked so well (despite using cold butter out of the fridge, which is a no-no), is that I kept the simmer to a bare minimum at all times. If you’re using a thermometer, ensure the mixture doesn’t exceed 71-76°C (160-170°F), at which point the eggs will curdle. I’ve included a tip at the bottom of the post for saving the sauce should it split.
Thanks to James Martin at BBC Good Food.com for this recipe. It’s a real winner.
Eggs Benedict with Smoked Salmon
- 4 eggs (fresh eggs are best)
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 2 English muffins, halved
- A little butter, for spreading
- 2 slices smoked salmon
- Chopped chives, dill or parsley, to serve
For the Hollandaise sauce:
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp white wine vinegar
- 3 egg yolks, room temperature
- 4.4 oz unsalted butter, diced (room temperature)
For the Hollandaise sauce:
- Put the lemon juice and vinegar in a small bowl, add the egg yolks and whisk with a balloon whisk until light and frothy.
- Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk until mixture thickens a little. Gradually add the butter (I added a couple of diced pieces, waited until they were almost completely melted in before adding a couple more, and so on).
- After the last of the butter has been incorporated, continue whisking the mixture until thick, ensuring the mixture doesn’t become too hot*. You want it to reach the stage where, if you lift the whisk above the mixture, the sauce will fall onto the surface of the mixture in ribbon shapes, retaining its shape before slowly disappearing back into the mixture. Season and keep warm.
To poach the eggs:
- Bring a large pan of water to the boil and add the vinegar. Lower the heat so that the water is simmering gently. Stir the water so you have a slight whirlpool, then slide in the eggs one by one. Cook each for about 4 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon.
- Lightly toast and butter the muffins, then put a couple of slices of salmon on each half. Top each with an egg, spoon over some Hollandaise and garnish with chopped chives, dill or parsley.