After having had a busy couple of days of non stop baking in the scorching summer heat, I (thankfully) finally found some time last night to go out with some fabulous friends and have a good time. Upon returning home we found the CSA bin on our doorstep, as if left by magical little elves. As I rummaged through the box of produce I was elated to find an enormous bag of farm fresh green beans (our first of the season!). I have always been a lover of green beans. As a child, while they were always horrendously overcooked or (gasp! dare I say) canned, I still gobbled them up as if they were candy. These days I prefer my green beans to retain a little bite to them. Some people out there disagree and feel the need to cook their beans until they are brown and practically falling apart. But, you know, that’s fine, to each their own. I have also recently seen several different recipes for “fool proof” hollandaise sauce, that can be made in advance. Now I have never had a big problem with the making of the sauce, but I have always found that it has to be made seconds before it is served, which often takes me away from the pleasures of mingling with my dinner guests. So the idea that I could make the sauce an hour in advance and then just refresh it with a little hot water was very appealing to me. I started out by blanching the trimmed green beans in boiling salted water for four to five minutes, and then shocking them in salted ice water to stop the cooking and to lock in their green color. Meanwhile, in the blender, I combined (or should I say blended) four egg yolks, three tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice, a generous grinding of black pepper, a small dash of salt, a little freshly grated nutmeg, and a couple of hearty pinches of chipotle powder (though cayenne pepper would work equally well). Once that was thoroughly mixed, with the blender still on, I slowly drizzled in fourteen tablespoons of hot, melted butter (which I heated in a glass measuring cup in the microwave) through the pour spout. And voila! It really couldn’t be any simpler to make. Since I was testing this recipe to see if it did, in fact, have the staying power to be made in advance, I left the mixture in the blender at room temperature for one hour. I returned to a sauce that had the consistency of a thick mayonnaise. I added two tablespoons of extremely hot tap water (as directed by at least five of the recipes I have recently seen), and gave it a thirty second whirl. And, wouldn’t you know, exactly as promised, the sauce came right back together and was ready to serve. I warmed the green beans by dropping them back into boiling salted water for about thirty seconds, drained them, and lined them up like soldiers on a warm, white platter. Now is there anything in life better than hollandaise? It is so sinfully rich and luxurious, it really does make even the simplest meal feel special.
UPDATE: I have also found that you can make your hollandaise as directed above and store it in a thermos (which I first fill with very hot tap water and then empty in order to pre-warm it) and the sauce will stay hot and pourable for up to three hours (depending on the quality of your thermos). Just give your thermos a shake before serving. Enjoy!