Tuesday, May 8, 2012
1 tablespoon water
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup butter
3 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest (optional)
several drops hot pepper sauce or a dash of powdered mustard (optional)
Whisk water and egg yolks together in a small stainless steel skillet. Place over low to medium low heat, continuing to whisk rapidly. Cook about 2 minutes. Place the butter into the pan and whisk until butter is fully incorporated, about 2 more minutes. Still over low heat add lemon juice, whisking until combined. Finally drop in lemon zest and hot sauce or mustard if using. Mix and serve hot. Perfect over asparagus or other veggies. Great on chicken cutlets or fish fillets. Necessary for Eggs Benedict. Makes about 3/4 cup of sauce.
Hints: This classic flavored sauce can also be changed up by using grapefruit or lime or even tangerine in place of the lemon. I use a flat wire whip for whisking. It is a horizontally positioned spring on a half circle at the end of a handle. It is best to use because it has a larger flat surface to cover the bottom of the skillet while stirring that a regular wire whisk does not. Be sure that the initial whisking takes place off heat. And you really need to stir the entire time or you get curdled sauce. This can also be made in a double boiler but keeping the heat low and whisking constantly is a better, more time efficient way to go. You can do it! Don't be scared! If the sauce does separate or eggs curdle, use an emulsion blender and try to fix it. It will still taste good. Pour it on the plate and put the veggies, eggs or chicken on top! I use fresh lemon juice, it takes about a half of a lemon. I also use salted butter. Using unsalted butter may mean that you need to add a bit of salt. Keep warm if not using right away by putting it in a deep glass container then in a warming drawer or warm oven (200 degrees or less). Stir in a teaspoon or two of hot water if the sauce thickens up.
This light, fluffy sauce is so delicious and so easy to make. I know that you can purchase a packaged mix that cooks up with water but it contains lots of additives and is a bit gloppy and not nearly as delicate or tasty. I love the lemon flavor for waking up steamed veggies and I very seldom use the hot sauce or mustard but nearly always include the zest.