Martha Stewart's Cooking School: Episode 2, Sauces
Squid Ink is going back to basics with Martha Stewart's Cooking School, airing every weekend through the end of the year on PBS. Join us.
Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Eggs Benedict with hollandaise
Martha Stewart believes in studying the classics, she says, as images of Einstein, Shakespeare and Abraham Lincoln (what?) cross the screen, and this logic, of course, applies to cooking. That's the whole basis of what she's doing with Martha Stewart's Cooking School, and it's the theme behind the sauces she chose to teach the masses (or at least we PBS-loving geeks) over the weekend. These are her classics: hollandaise, beurre blanc, béchamel and marinara, all of which work as either a dressing for entrees and vegetables, as well as for the bases of less textbook sauces.
First up, Hollandaise.
Sayeth Martha, a double boiler is not a great idea for Hollandaise because the steel tends to get too hot. She recommends using a glass mixing bowl over a copper pot if you don't have a porcelain bain-marie. (Do you? We do not.)
This recipe came straight from the Stewart camp (thank you!) so it's fantastically detailed.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups
3 large egg yolks
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into tablespoons
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1. Fill a medium saucepan with 2 inches water and bring to a boil, then reduce heat so water is barely simmering.
2. Off the heat, whisk egg yolks in a heatproof bowl or on top of a double boiler until they become pale. Place over the simmering water. Whisking constantly, cook until the mixture is thick enough to hold a trail from the whisk and begins to hold its shape when drizzled from the whisk, about 3 minutes.
3. Whisking constantly, add butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking until each addition is incorporated completely before adding the next. When all the butter has been added, season with lemon juice, salt, cayenne, and black pepper. The sauce should be thick but still able to drizzle from a spoon (and it should form a pool, not a mound). If it is too thick, thin it with a little water.
4. The sauce is best if used immediately but can sit for about an hour over hot water in a bain-marie or in a Thermos.
After running through this process, Martha shocked us by whipping out a blender and giving us an alternate, easier method. If you go that route, add the egg yolks and melted, slightly cooled butter into the blender and fire it up. Then add the rest of the above ingredients while the blender spins on low. BOOM! Hollandaise. Who knew?
Now, the rest of these recipes for beurre blanc, béchamel and marinara are going to seem a bit more makeshift because they're taken down from TV, but rest assured, they're step-by-step what Martha says to do. And for the record, she doesn't indicate how much this makes, so that detail is lacking. One can safely assume, though, they each make enough for whatever you're having for dinner.