Huffington Post has a contributing team to their Food page who are dedicated to simplifying recipes so that you can enjoy some of the finer things of life, gastronomically speaking. Check them out at Simply Recipes--just search it and you're there.
Once you examine the Hollandaise recipe you will notice that it is easier than Mayonnaise because it has fewer ingredients. But it is the richness of combining egg yolks with pure melted butter--no salad or olive oil here--that makes it so hard to get right. You can have failure after failure working your arm into exhaustion with your wire whip, egg yolks and melted butter.
However, the Simply Recipes team has revealed the true reason why so many restaurants make Hollandaise Sauce dishes available: the blender. In fact, checking out this recipe has convinced me not only that I should make Hollandaise Sauce, but also to get a better blender. I have been cooking by myself since around 1965, and I can't remember if I ever did try making Hollandaise, but if I did it was with the wire whip. So I am going to stop by Target or Walmart in Tucson and take a look at mid-level blenders real soon
I did have a bad experience recently with my HealthMaster food processor that I got last year. It burned out after a few months--with smoke and everything--which shocked me until I started to see HealthMasters being sold on the Internet for greatly-reduced prices.
I didn't use the thing more than once a day, and I never used its property of heating up under certain circumstances to cook soup. I just made my smoothie every morning until one day when it went up in smoke. So I have to warn my readers: don't buy one. Get a blender or a high-end product like the Vita Mix and you can do the same thing. No one has ever reported to me that their Vita Mix failed, and my stepmother used hers on an almost daily basis, making her own flour from various grains that she bought and experimented with. Her dinner rolls were very interesting! But obviously someone needs to speak to Montel Williams about the HealthMaster.
But once you have a crumpet or two and some Canadian bacon (or Prosciutto if you like), you can make Eggs Benedict right next to the hotel chefs once you get Hollandaise Sauce under your belt.
BLENDER HOLLANDAISE SAUCE
3 egg yolks
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
10 tablespoons unsalted butter (if using salted butter, skip the added salt)
Melt the butter slowly in a small pot. Try not to let it boil – you want the moisture in the butter to remain there and not steam away.
Place the egg yolks, lemon juice, salt and cayenne (if using) into your blender. Blend the egg yolk mixture at a medium to medium high speed until it lightens in color, about 20-30 seconds. The friction generated by the blender blades will heat the yolks a bit. The blending action will also introduce a little air into them, making your Hollandaise lighter.
Once the yolks have lightened in color, turn the blender down to its lowest setting (if you only have one speed on your blender it will still work), and drizzle in the melted butter slowly, while the blender is going. Continue to buzz for another few seconds after the butter is all incorporated.
Turn off the blender and taste the sauce. It should be buttery, lemony and just lightly salty. If it is not salty or lemony enough, you can add a little lemon juice or salt to taste. If you want a thinner consistency, add a little warm water. Pulse briefly to incorporate the ingredients one more time.
Store until needed in a warm spot, like on or next to the stovetop. Use within an hour or so.
Eggs Benedict go like this: layer the toasted crumpet or English muffin, shaved ham, Canadian bacon or Prosciutto, a poached egg, Hollandaise Sauce and cooked asparagus spears. Serve with modesty, and don't worry--once your guests learn that you made the Hollandaise, they will be impressed.