Tarty Hollandaise Sauce

The secret to perfect poached eggs is fry them. I don’t dislike poached eggs. But they’re the Tom Cruise of brunch. They seem like a modern classic until you realize they’re ridiculous and the reason those women  bolted is right in front of you. Look at him! Listen to him off script for 2 seconds. See what I’m saying? Just fry your eggs.

My first issue with poached eggs is the water. I love water, but not if I can have butter or olive oil. Fat-Free proponents love poached eggs. When you’ve got a bunch of shiny body builders singing your praises, you have to ask what is wrong with me?  Second problem with poached eggs: the little squiggly slurp strip of dense, raw egg white. The tie around the yolk sack? I don’t know what it’s called but it’s always RIGHT THERE when I pop open my poached egg. The beloved yolk of a poached egg has to sit in that curdy egg white lotion. Stop it! Third problem with poached eggs: All the cool kids think they invented them. Read a book hipster! It’s just a hot, wet egg–from HISTORY. You didn’t dream up half boiling an egg. You also didn’t dream up the rusty corrugated walls of your restaurant “concept”. HOBOS! Hobos dreamed up eating stolen eggs surrounded by metal walls–not you.

Wow. Why so testy this Mother’s Day weekend? Think it’s mom stuff? My mini-van needs a new drink console? Maybe my kids are driving me into the ground with all the T-ball practice, tap lessons and selling their birthday presents online to strangers? Nope. Thank the Gods on Mount Olympus, my kids never played T-ball.

I’m testy because I CANNOT TAKE ANOTHER SECOND OF THIS FART-FACED PRESIDENT!  I realize he’s just the symbolic shadow of our dual nature. He’s a Lesson–a Mirror we need to look into as a society in order to evolve . . . um NO. He’s plain old nasty crap. Not everything is a spiritual test. He and his “cabinet” are like a sink full of dirty dishes. I don’t know how they all got in there so fast but if we leave them long enough, covered in all that junk, they could kill our whole family.

To comfort myself this Mother’s Day I have made my dream breakfast. My dream involves freakishly tart Hollandaise sauce over NOT poached eggs. My dream includes smoked salmon, lox style. Not the flaky, bone dry, biscuit fish that tumbles out of the rucksack of an 1860s mountain man. Another aspect to my dream is broiled artichoke halves. Hell on hot wheels you guys! These, with the sauce, are my favorite thing. This could be my birthday cake! God, my mother would love this!

This recipe reminded me of something important: You really can make your dreams come true. Especially if your dreams are something you can do pretty easily.

There are a trillion recipes for Hollandaise sauce and it’s not that difficult. It’s essentially just hot mayonnaise. This version is very tart and lemony, exactly how I like it. When making any Hollandaise sauce, remember to get all  parts of the meal prepared before you start the sauce.. Be restrained with heat and attentive with the whisk. Pour this sauce over any Benedict style breakfast. It’s delicious over asparagus, filet Mignon, sandwiches, savory crepes. . .


Tarty Hollandaise Sauce

  • Yield: 2 cups sauce
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 25


  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 1 (1/2) cups lemon juice, 3-5 lemons.
  • 3/4 cup butter, 1 (1/2) sticks.
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or more)
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (Basque Piment de Espellette) DIVIDED.
  • 2-4 English muffins (I used puffy yellow Glutino gluten free muffins)
  • 4-6 fresh basil leaves per English muffin
  • 1 small artichoke per English muffin
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Handful of capers (or more)
  • Sliced apricots and tart cherries
  • More eggs to top muffins
  • Lox or smoked salmon. I prefer Lox style salmon for this.
  • Red onion
  • Pinch of sugar


  1. Don't make the sauce first. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Prep your veggies and fruit.

  3. Trim the artichokes minimally and slice in half. Place face up on lightly oiled baking sheet. Drizzle and spread olive oil over the inside. Sprinkle kosher salt and crack black pepper over them and Bake at 350 for 10 minutes (longer for very large artichokes).

  4. Crank oven to broil. Blast artichokes under broiler for about 5 minutes or until they are very lightly charred. Check that they are cooked through by pulling of an interior leaf and tasting. If it's still to firm. Lower temperature of oven to 350 and bake until done. Set artichokes on plates.

  5. Place 3-4 ounces (a nice clump) of smoked salmon on the plate.

  6. Toast your English muffin. Butter it if that's your style.

  7. Squeeze your lemons until you have 1 (1/2) cups lemon juice.

  8. Add 2 teaspoons water to the measuring cup containing the lemon juice.

  9. Separate 4 eggs. I don't care what you do with the whites. I fed mine to my dog. I love her less after watching her eat those raw egg whites but I loved her so much before that now it's a normal amount.

  10. For recipes where you really want just egg yolks (the whites might screw up the chemistry) or when you want to get the gross, raw egg white curlicue thing off the yolk, do this: Roll the yolk along a paper towel and into your pot.

  11. Melt 3/4 cups butte,r 1 (1/2) cubes

  12. You've got 4 egg yolks in the sauce pan. Your lemon juice/water mix is ready in the measuring cup. Your butter is melted. Now go cook the eggs that will top the muffins. THEN you will make the sauce.

  13. Cook your eggs. I fry mine so they're crisp on the bottom but good and yolky up top. I ladle hot butter or olive oil over them to cook the white for fancy show off plates. I flip them for a few seconds if it's only me looking at the eggs.

  14. Place toasted muffins on the plate. Place lox on muffins. Place fresh basil on lox. Place cooked eggs on basil.


  16. Pour the lemon water into the saucepan with the 4 egg yolks. Whisk well. Place sauce pan over a low flame or a double boiler. I used low heat. Whisk consistently. Pay attention to sides of pot. The sauce cooks fastest at that edge. Scrape the sides of the pan to keep the sauce cooking evenly. Whisk continuously.

  17. After 2-3 minutes you will notice the sauce changing, thickening. It will start at the edge of the pan. REMOVE FROM HEAT to cool a bit.

  18. Add butter slowly. Drizzle it in while you whisk continuously. You've really never stopped whisking. Add 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1/4 teaspoon salt and a pinch of sugar. This should have only taken seconds and you're still whisking.

  19. Place pan back over low heat and whisk/cook a bit more, 1-2 minutes max. The sauce will grow. Some recipes say it doubles. Maybe, but don't wait that long. If you notice it has increased and it's a little thicker than when you started, remove it from heat. You're done. The sauce will continue to cook after you remove it from the stove. Ladle it over your plates. If your sauce "breaks" scream bloody murder like I have so many times. It DOES help. People say you can put over cooked Hollandaise in a blender with a little water to fix it. HOGWASH! It will never be what you intended it to be. It will still be delicious though. Just fix it and move on. Or make another batch if you can afford the eggs and butter you crazy Roman.


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