Steak with Basil Hollandaise

I have always been scared of making hollandaise. It has the reputation of being really easy to mess up. Despite this, my boyfriend and I made a deal about two years ago that he would learn how to poach eggs if I learned how to make hollandaise sauce. The plan was that once each of us mastered our appointed skill we would be able to make our favorite breakfast: eggs Benedict. I am ashamed to admit that for the last two years I have been enjoying beautifully poached eggs yet have never even attempted a hollandaise sauce :( Shame on me.I’m not sure exactly what it is about Hollandaise that freaks me out so much. I have cooked egg yolks without any major disaster (see last week’s carbonara recipe), in fact I think I could almost make custard in my sleep, but I have still delayed attempting the sauce I was appointed to. Until now! dun dun daaaaaa

I must confess, it really wasn’t that hard. So don’t be like me, try it! Especially since it’ll give you an excuse to cook a nice big steak!

Serves 2

  • 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp cold water
  • small handful basil leaves chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 peppercorns
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup clarified butter (I’ll tell you how to make this)
  • lemon juice, to taste
  • salt
  • pepper

To make the basil hollandaise:

  1. In a small pot, put the butter onto a low heat to slowly melt it.
  2. As the butter starts to bubble and froth, skim the scum and foam off the top. The end goal is to have ‘clarified butter’ which is consistant in colour without any imperfections.
  3. Once the butter has melted and you have skimmed off as much skum as possible, strain the butter though a piece of paper towel. This will remove any imperfections that may remain.
  4. Bring the vinegar to boil with the peppercorns and bay leaf. Leave to boil away until the liquid has reduced by half.
  5. Strain the vinegar to remove the peppercorns and bay leaf.
  6. Put a pot of water on the stove and bring to a simmer.
  7. Add an ice cube to a glass of water. You will need this ice water in the next step.
  8. In a large, heat proof bowl (you will need to hold it over the simmering water) whisk the egg yolk, 1/2 tbsp of the ice water and 1/2 tbsp of the reduced vinegar.
  9. Holding the bowl over the simmering water, whisk the egg vigorously until the egg froths, ribbons appear, and the mixture thickens. I know this sounds vague, but you will notice the egg thicken.
  10. Next, slowly dribble in the clarified butter while still whisking. Do this nice and slowly to avoid the mixture splitting. If the hollandaise does split, try adding a drop more of ice water.
  11. If your hollandaise is a little on the thick side, drizzle in a touch more ice water.
  12. Season with salt and pepper and whisk in lemon juice to taste.
  13. Finely chop the basil and stir into the hollandaise.

To cook the steak:

  1. Season the steaks with lots of salt and pepper and massage the seasoning in with some olive oil.
  2. Heat a heavy cast iron or griddle pan.
  3. When the pan is nice and hot (test thick by flicking in some water. If it immediately boils off, it’s hot enough) add the steaks.
  4. Leave the steak to cook for 2-3 minutes to get one side of the steak nice and caramelized.
  5. Flip the steak and leave for another 2-3 minutes to cook it to a nice medium rare.
  6. Check the firmness of the steak. I do this by poking the steak and comparing the feel of the meat to the feel of my thumb when I put my thumb and index finder together.
  7. Remove the steaks to a plate, cover with tin foil, and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving. I know this sounds like a long time, but the steak needs the time to relax.
  8. Serve with some fries and a nice dollop of basil hollandaise. Enjoy :)
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