But at lunch today, hollandaise became a simply ineluctable condiment. I was making a salad, and realized that I wanted some butter. Sadly, there was nothing to spread it on, since I had just run out of bread and wouldn't be baking till tomorrow. And then I knew what I had to do: dress the salad with butter, of course. The time had come for hollandaise.
I went straight to the stove and made it. I didn't stop to look in a cookbook or ask the Internet. My conviction was complete, and left no room for doubts or hesitations. I cracked the egg, I melted the butter, I beat it. A pinch of salt, a splash of vinegar. In less than five minutes, I returned to my salad, and poured over it a glossy golden ribbon of sauce, and became a whole woman again. I can still feel it, shining inside me.
HollandaiseGently melt 3-4 tablespoons of butter in a small pan. Turn it off as soon as it is melted. For the hollandaise to be really sunny, use butter from grassfed cows.
Separate an egg (and fry the white; why not?). Put the yolk in a small jar or bowl and beat it well. For the hollandaise to be even more sunny and golden, use an egg from a pastured hen.
Pour in one drop of the melted butter. Beat it thoroughly, so that the butter is completely incorporated into a creamy, shiny emulsion. Repeat until you've added all the butter. (Towards the end you can add the butter in larger quantities, but don't stop beating until it's all smooth.)
Add some salt and a little apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. I think lemon juice is the preferred thing, but I didn't have any lemons today.
Note: this dressed one large serving of arugula-apple salad.
Also, now I'm beginning to doubt myself. Surely I've made hollandaise before today? In a little way, for a last minute supper? For crepes at breakfast? I'll ask W. Crawford. I make him eat so many things, and they just float away without recipes to weight them down. Or maybe I dreamt about making hollandaise. That's just as likely.
OH MY GOODNESS! I just had an idea. Hollandaise in Waldorf salad. No, better: browned butter hollandaise in Waldorf salad.