Eggs Benedict is a classic recipe beloved by brunch-goers the world over, but most home cooks shy away from it for one reason: Hollandaise sauce. Notoriously difficult to perfect, this mother sauce is an ethereal combination of butter, eggs, and lemon juice that comes together over a double boiler.
That is, unless you use this smart trick from chef Eric Ripert. Ripert instructs us to emulsify all ingredients in a blender pre-warmed with hot water instead of whisking at the stove top. It’s so easy you might be making eggs Benedict every weekend. —Food52
Test Kitchen Notes
Hollandaise is notoriously difficult to execute on its own, but harder still to time its delivery with egg poaching, bread toasting, ham frying, and side-of-fruit slicing.
The sauce in question is a delicate emulsion of egg yolk, melted (sometimes clarified) butter, and an acid (whether lemon or white wine vinegar). As lexicographer John Ayto recorded in The Diner's Dictionary: Word Origins of Food and Drink, “hollandaise” is French for “Dutch sauce.” The name was given in the 16th century, and the sauce was invented as perfect accompaniment for Dutch asparagus.
But wait—hold on. Reverse, reverse! Let’s revisit the sauce’s components: butter, egg, and an acid. How can it be that two immiscible ingredients (butter is a fat, lemon juice is essentially water) play together so well as to form a singular creamy sauce? The answer lies in egg’s emulsifying, binding powers. Well, the yolk specifically: Egg yolks contain lecithin (Greek for “yolk”!), a substance that attracts both fat and water, and combines them smoothly.
The sauce is heated over a double boiler, and whisked constantly, so as to cook the eggs but not to curdle, or break, the sauce. We know—super finicky. And not something anyone wants to tend to, while also flipping pancakes, squeezing oranges for juice, and crisping bacon.
Enter this truly genius trick from chef Eric Ripert: whipping hollandaise up in a blender. Pre-warming the blender jar is the only finicky (if you can call it that) step, but a totally necessary one: A little heat is important for the sauce to emulsify, and the gentle warmth of the blender will better help the sauce along. —Coral Lee
2 to 4
fresh lemon juice
salt and black pepper (more, to taste)