Hollandaise is one of those old-school French “mother sauces” they teach you in cooking school. Only I never went to cooking school. My introduction to Hollandaise came in the early 1980s, when my family would go out on Sunday mornings to brunch — that unloved child of breakfast and lunch. Wretched food. I still hate “brunching” to this day, and until recently I hated Hollandaise, too.
Duck fat changed me. At some point I realized that you can make a Hollandaise without butter, and that you can add a little cayenne to spice things up. What was once a miserable, clotty butter bomb becomes a zingy, ducky, mayonnaise-like dream sauce! It’s still mostly fat, so a little goes a long way.
And making Hollandaise does not have to be difficult: This sauce comes together easily in a blender in less than 5 minutes. What’s not to love?
Serve this hollandaise with poached duck breast, eggs — especially duck eggs — or asparagus. Pretty, ain’t it?
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- A pinch of cayenne
- 5 teaspoons lemon juice
- 7 tablespoons melted duck fat
- 3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
- Put the egg yolks, lemon juice, salt and cayenne in a blender and buzz it for about 30 seconds on medium power.
- Drop the speed of the blender to low and take the insert out of the top of the blender. Slowly drizzle in the melted duck fat and butter. Return the insert to the top of the blender, turn the power up to high and buzz for 15 seconds or so.
- Serve at once, although Hollandaise can be held for up to a few hours if you keep it in a warm place, like on top of your stove if you are cooking.