Photo courtesy of Sae Lee. A wonderful man with a wonderful eye. Let's do breakfast again soon.

Photo courtesy of Sae Lee. A wonderful man with a wonderful eye. Let’s do breakfast again soon.

Have you ever tried to make hollandaise sauce from scratch? If you have, you’ve probably run into that bane of all aspiring home chefs, the incredible, inedible, breaking sauce. This is where the butter separates from the eggs in the sauce and makes a curdled, gross mess. Most people, not wanting to waste a stick of butter and five egg yolks resolve the problem with a thickening agent. It’s the same trick some restaurants use but it’s not very tasty. So, here’s a simple trick that you can use to make flawless, faultless, delicious hollandaise sauce, every time.

Faultless Hollandaise Sauce

  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • Dash of salt
  • Dash of cayenne pepper (this is important to the taste of the sauce – please don’t leave it out)
  • 1 stick butter

In a blender, combine the first four ingredients. Blend on the lowest speed with the full lid in place. The mixture will quickly change from deep yellow to pale yellow. While the blender is whirring away, melt the butter. I use a cheapo pitcher I found for $.69 at Goodwill.

Remove the center portion of the blender lid and slowly, I cannot emphasize this enough, slowly drizzle in the hot butter. The sauce will thicken without breaking, every time.

WARNING! This yields about a cup or so of sauce. Hollandaise doesn’t keep. You can’t reheat it. Trust me on this. So, if you are cooking an intimate breakfast for two, make the following adjustments. Reduce the yolks to three and the butter to half a stick. Proceed as above.

Okay, I’ve made flawless, unbroken hollandaise sauce, so what now? Right? This is where the schmenedict part comes in.

Everyone knows that Eggs Benedict (or Oeufs Benedict as they say in the old country) is made by layering an English muffin, Canadian bacon, a poached egg, and covering with hollandaise sauce. Wait, English, Canadian, Dutch (hollandaise = Dutch in French); how the heck is this supposed to be a French dish?  Never mind. Back to our story.

So, Eggs Benedict. Where was I? Oh yeah!  Eggs Benedict are yummy, no doubt about it. But there is so much more you can do by shaking up tradition. Here are a few favorites around our ranch.

  • Substitute corned beef hash for the Canadian bacon. Amazingly yummy!
  • Substitute flaked crab meat for the Canadian bacon. Even more amazing than corned beef hash. Crab season in the Pacific Northwest means this is a regular Sunday favorite.
  • On that theme, using the crab, put it and the poached egg on avocado slices. You will be transported to a new level of pleasure. (assuming that you like avocado and crab that is)
  • Try not having anything between the egg and avocado. (Sensing a theme here? Avocados are not only delicious but they are surprisingly good for you. Lots of fiber in them, which is kind of weird when you think about their texture. They also taste fabulous when warmed ever so slightly by the poached egg and hollandaise sauce. ) We accompanied it with plank grilled salmon and a fruit cup made of orange and blueberry.

And remember, hollandaise is not just for breakfast. Try it on steamed veggies like broccoli and asparagus. Unbelievable!

NOTE: We’ve been thinking of starting a segment called “The Seductive Gourmet” which would be a regular feature about delicious, elegant food you can make at home without killing yourself to do it. We’re suspense-romance writers. We believe in romance. It’s fun, it’s exciting, and it’s satisfying. Romance frequently starts with a meal. Whether it’s a new romance or rediscovering your partner and rekindling the fires, a relaxing home cooked meal that both looks good and tastes good can be a first step. After all, why go out when you can pamper someone at home? Please comment on this blog segment and let us know if you’d like to see more recipes from the Seductive Gourmet.



  1. Absolutely more recipes (and you’re right, good food=romance–or leads to it)! You gotta share your simple and tasty method of cooking Brussels Sprouts (are they French too?). I know, everyone says “Yechhh!” Brussels Srouts” but wait till you tast them the way Jim prepares them…

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