No, you didn’t misread that. This is “almost” hollandaise sauce. It looks like it. It tastes like it…so what’s the deal? Well, no butter! Yes! Now you’re asking, why, for the love of all that’s holy in the kitchen, wouldn’t you want butter in a hollandaise sauce? Let’s face it, hollandaise has to be made last minute…it really does. It doesn’t reheat well and it’s a bit on the rich side, right? This has all the really good properties of a real-deal hollandaise sauce, but without the drawbacks…and you can have more without feeling like over-stuffed!Don’t get me wrong, I adore, adore, adore hollandaise sauce. What’s not to love? Well, all that butter. It can be a bit of a finicky sauce to prepare without it curdling, or the eggs scrambling. And you have to make pretty much right before serving it and it really doesn’t reheat. This “version” uses eggs, but no butter. Not a pat! And frankly, I don’t think you’ll miss it. We didn’t. Really…we didn’t. It starts out like a hollandaise, lemon zest, a good amount of lemon juice and a whole egg in a heavy-bottomed saucepan.
Combine your milk and cream(s) in a cup measure; add the cornstarch and stir until it’s combined. Set that aside for a couple of minutes.
We’re just whisking the egg, lemon juice and zest together until it’s very light and changes color. That’s a bit of tarragon I added, as I like tarragon with eggs. But, that’s up to you.
Now, heat the egg mixture over medium-low heat…a really heavy-bottomed pan is quite essential for this (or any sauce, really). The minute it begins to come together, remove the pan from the heat source and keep whisking. We’re not looking to scramble eggs here.
At this point, give the milk mixture a good stir and add about 1/3 of it. Whisk it up well and then add the remainder in thirds, whisking well after each addition. Return to the heat and cook until the mixture coats the back of a spoon and when you draw a finger through it, it doesn’t run. Whisk in the Dijon, if using…and please do. I adds just a nice little tang. Ají amarillo paste (or powder), instead of cayenne is a more interesting “heat”.
And that’s petty much it! It is now ready to use. It’s much easier, more stable, and it tastes great! By all means, make the real-deal hollandaise if you want, but this is a nice little option to have in your back pocket. Here is the end result…so delicious! Okay, so I like some heat and lots and lots of freshly ground black pepper on my eggs.
Not Hollandaise Sauce Sauce
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/3 cup half-and-half
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch (see NOTE)
- 1 whole egg, well beaten
- Zest of 1 large lemon
- Juice of 1 large lemon (about 4-5 tablespoons)
- 1 teaspoon dried tarragon (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard (optional, but really delicious)
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher or truffle salt
- Large pinch of cayenne pepper, or to taste (see NOTE)
Combine your milk and cream(s) in a cup measure; add the cornstarch and stir until it’s combined. Set aside. Whisk the egg, lemon juice and zest together until it’s very light and changes color. Add the tarragon, if using. Heat the egg mixture over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until it just begins to thicken. Immediately, remove the pan from the heat source, but keep whisking to prevent the egg from scrambling. At this point, give the milk mixture a good stir and whisk about 1/3 into the egg mixture. Return to the heat and continue to whisk in the milk mixture by thirds. Cook until the mixture coats the back of a spoon, about 2 minutes. When you draw a finger through it, it should leave a clear path and not be watery thin. Remove from the heat; taste and correct the seasoning. You may need to add additional lemon juice. Serve immediately over poached eggs, steamed asparagus, green beans or broccoli or use as a dipping sauce for grilled steak. Can be made ahead and reheated. Leftovers can be reheated in the microwave on MEDIUM heat.
NOTE: Just a reminder not to use arrowroot, as it can have an unpleasant, rather slimy, mouth feel. I usually place the milk and half-and-half in a cup measure and just fill to the one cup level with heavy cream. But, you may use half milk and half, half-and-half very successfully. We like hollandaise to be quite sharp, so you may need to add additional lemon juice. I use ají amarillo paste instead of the cayenne, as I like the flavor profile. You may add truffle salt, instead of the kosher salt, and a few drops of great quality truffle oil, particularly when using this as a sauce for vegetables.
Not Hollandaise Sauce Sauce©Marcia Lahens 2021. All rights reserved.