((This post was originally posted June 17th, 2018. It was updated Feb. 2021.))
Learn how to make a small batch version of this classic French sauce. It’s perfect for blanketing over this vegetable twist on an Eggs Benedict. Inspired by and adapted from Tyler Florence’s Hollandaise Recipe
Believe it or not, I did not have my first eggs Benedict until my late twenties. I’m not sure why. Perhaps because most of my life I had no idea what hollandaise was and thought poached eggs were gross.
Nevertheless, as I matured in years and in taste, I became more adventurous and much less picky about food, as one does.
I’m fairly certain the first eggs Benedict I ever had was at a restaurant called Farmhouse near downtown Chicago. My friends and I met up on a cold, dreary December day for a much needed girl’s brunch, and I was advised to get the eggs Benedict.
It was one of the most delicious breakfasts I’ve ever had. The English muffin, which serves as the foundation for classic eggs Benedict was particularly memorable. It had the perfect chewy texture with a slight crispiness to it. Come to think of it, it may have even been a sourdough English muffin. The eggs were perfectly cooked with a slightly runny yolk, and of course everything was blanketed in a light yet luscious hollandaise sauce.
Finding the courage to make hollandaise
About a year later, when I threw myself into this cooking adventure, I decided I was going to learn how to make hollandaise for myself. I was determined, even though it’s a fancy French sauce – one of the Five Mother Sauces, in fact. (What are mother sauces? (Read all about French Mother Sauces here.)
Being a diligent home cook, I opened Julia Child’s “From Julia’s Kitchen,” read the recipe, and slammed the book shut, terrified. “NOPE,” I exclaimed, as I jumped on Pinterest to find the best looking, “easy” recipe.
I clicked on a hollandaise sauce that could be made in a blender, bypassing the vigorous whisking of butter into the eggs and lemon juice over a double boiler. “Phew.” I thought. “This should be a cinch.”
BUT, it was a recipe enough for multiple servings and I was just cooking for me, myself, and I. So in my very wise judgment (sarc), I decided to reduce the recipe.
Well, it turns out that when I cut the recipe down significantly, I didn’t exactly have enough sauce to blend. I was left with a thin film of what should have been my hollandaise sauce lightly coating the inside of my counter top blender. Additionally, it was completely runny, not thick and gorgeous like hollandaise is supposed to be.
After muttering a combination of colorful words, I took a deep breath and tried again with a recipe from a reliable source.
Cue, Tyler Florence’s hollandaise Recipe.
This time, I decided to follow the recipe to a T. No reducing. No funky methods.
I marveled at how few steps his recipe had. I read it several times to make sure it was as simple as it seemed.
**Note: I use a makeshift double boiler to make this sauce as I don’t have an actual double boiler. Here’s a tutorial for how to put one together yourself! If you have an actual double boiler set and you are familiar with using it, please do!**
How I made this Hollandaise Sauce:
First I melted a BUCKET of butter. Ok, not a bucket, but an eyebrow raising amount for sure.
Spoiler alert for those new to hollandaise, this sauce is incredibly rich and decadent.
Next, I added about a cup of water to a small sauce pot and bring to a boil. In a separate heat-safe bowl, I added the egg yolks and lemon juice.
I whisked the egg yolks and lemon juice with all my might until the mixture became pale in color and slightly frothy. When I say, all my might, I mean all my might. It takes me about a solid minute or two of violent whisking to get the mixture to that state. Then it’s blended and ready to be drowned in what seems like a half gallon of melted butter.
Next, I lowered the heat of the water in the sauce pot to a simmer. I placed the heat safe bowl with the eggs and lemon juice over the pot of simmering water and slowly add the melted butter in a steady stream, while whisking quickly. This one handed whisking and pouring is tricky to do, so you can always do what I prefer. I add a splash or two of the butter at a time, whisking energetically between each addition until I’ve added all the butter. So far, I’ve never had any issues making it this way.
After I whisked in all the butter, the mixture was on the thin side, but I kept at it! After about one or two minutes – with that gentle heat, the sauce thickened, and almost suddenly I had the most glorious hollandaise you can imagine.
I couldn’t believe it when the sauce came together. I was so proud. It’s, like, a legit French recipe, y’all!
*Pin it for later! Tap this image to save to your “Egg Recipes” board in Pinterest!*
What happens if my hollandaise sauce breaks?
Another item that always enters into the hollandaise discussion is what to do if/when your sauce breaks. Essentially, when your sauce breaks it means that the butter and egg yolk mixture separated after you’ve whisked your heart out and/or you accidentally cooked your sauce over too high heat and your eggs scrambled.
If your eggs scramble, I’m afraid you’ll have to start over. Make sure to keep the water under the bowl at just a simmer, and make sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl. Constant whisking is key to getting that smooth, velvety sauce.
Knock on wood, I have yet to break a sauce, and I’ve made this small batch hollandaise this way about a dozen times.
Need some more breakfast recipe ideas?
Be sure to check out:
- Honey Goat Cheese Toasts with Blackberries & Mint
- Lemon Cream Crepes
- Sweet Potato & Chorizo Breakfast Hash
Vegetable Benedict with Small Batch Hollandaise – How to Love Cooking
Making eggs benedict with vegetables
Traditional eggs Benedict consists of an English muffin topped with some fried Canadian bacon and a poached egg. Then, everything gets blanketed with a creamy and velvety hollandaise sauce. However, we have the freedom to create any kind of Benedict we like. In this recipe, I’ve switched out the meat for sauteed veggies. It makes me feel a little less guilty for enjoying two giant dollops of hollandaise. 🙂
Anyway, like I always say, if I can figure out how to do it, so can you. Don’t stress if you have to make it twice before you get it right. You’ll feel incredibly awesome knowing you can make hollandaise.
Ingredient ratios for this small batch hollandaise sauce
The tweaks I’ve made to the recipe are slight. Since I like a nice, bright lemony flavor, I have a higher lemon juice to egg yolk ratio. If you prefer a more mild lemon flavor, do 1 tsp of lemon juice for each egg yolk. Additionally, I reduced the butter. My ratio for the sauce is: 1 egg yolk / ½ TBS lemon juice / 2 TBS melted butter. Using this ratio, it is very easy to make a small batch hollandaise hollandaise sauce for anywhere from one to four people.
Since my hollandaise is on the brighter side, I opt to not add any vinegar to my poaching water. Various recipes like to use that method, but I am simply trying to avoid giving my eggs any extra tangy flavor. Of course, if that’s how you poach your eggs, use the method you like! Perhaps consider reducing the amount of lemon juice slightly.
So, if you were to make this recipe for a five star French chef, he may or may not but definitely will take serious issue with it for not having enough butter. But, if you just want to whip it up for you and someone for whom you care enough about to make eggs Benedict, this small batch hollandaise recipe works just fine.
I hope you enjoy and conquer that fear of Hollandaise Sauce!
Vegetable Benedict with Small Batch Hollandaise Sauce
For the Vegetable Benedict
- 2 English Muffins Sliced in half and toasted
- 1 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 1/2 Cups Chopped, Fresh Asparagus
- 1 Cup Chopped Mushrooms White or Portabello
- 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1/4 tsp Onion Powder
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1/8 tsp Pepper
- 4 Large Eggs
For the Hollandaise Sauce (Enough for two portions.)
- 2 Egg Yolks
- 1 TBS Fresh Lemon Juice
- 4 TBS Melted Butter
- 1 Pinch Salt
- 1 Pinch Pepper
- 1-3 TBS Hot Water (If needed)
For the Vegetable Benedict
Toast the English muffins in the toaster. Set aside.
Add the olive oil to a saute pan, and heat over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, toss in the chopped asparagus and chopped mushrooms. Add the salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Cook the vegetables for about 7-9 minutes while stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
To poach the eggs: Fill a small sauce pot with water so that the water comes about halfway up the sides. Bring the water to a vigorous boil, and add a pinch of salt. Slowly add the eggs to the pot of water, one at a time. (Only poach two eggs at a time to avoid over crowding the pot.) Cover the pot with a lid, and turn off the heat. Let the eggs sit in the hot water for about 3 minutes and 30 seconds for a runny yolk or longer if you like a firmer yolk. Remove the eggs using a slotted spoon, and set on a plate lined with a paper towel. Repeat this process for the other two eggs.
For the Hollandaise
Pour out the water in the sauce pot used to poach the eggs and refill with about a cup of water. Bring to a boil. In a heat safe bowl, add the egg yolks and lemon juice. Whisk the egg yolks and lemon juice together vigorously until the mixture becomes pale in color, slightly frothy, and increases slightly in volume.
Once the mixture is well whisked, reduce the heat and bring the water in the sauce pot down to a gentle simmer. Place the bowl with the egg yolk mixture over the sauce pot (making sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl), and stir. (You can also use a double boiler for this process if you have one.)
Slowly add in the melted butter, a few tablespoons at a time, whisking the mixture between each addition of butter. Continue to whisk the egg mixture and butter over the sauce pot of simmering water until the mixture becomes thick, light yellow in color, and voluptuous. It usually only takes about 1-2 minutes after all the butter has been added.
Remove from the heat, and add a pinch of salt and pepper. If you want a thinner sauce, add hot water, one tablespoon at a time, until you achieve the consistency you like. I typically add 2-3 tablespoons.
To assemble the Benedicts: Top each of the English muffin halves with a scoop of sauteed vegetables and a poached egg. Spoon a bit of the luscious Hollandaise over the top of each egg. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley, and enjoy!