This breakfast is decadent. It’s meant to be served with hot coffee and warm socks. I don’t know why beets and hollandaise sauce don’t naturally go together all the time–they make an unexpectedly great combination. This brunch does take a while to come together, but there are plenty of things that you can do ahead of time. Also, brunch is flexible. It can be anywhere between 10 and 2, I say.
The hollandaise recipe is from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. It’s a basic one. It’s easier than you think. Words like “emulsion” or “suspension” and “curdle” can make the process seem really daunting, but if you follow a few simple steps, it’s totally doable. Plus, once you have homemade hollandaise swirled with egg yolk, you’ll see why a little stress is worth it. Let’s be clear about one more thing: hollandaise sauce is by no means a health food. It’s not an everyday sort of sauce. It’s mostly butter. I feel like I should give you a heads up because it’s delicious and you might want to eat it on everything, which you probably shouldn’t. It’s strictly for brunch-type affairs.
Here’s the recipe for the hollandaise: serves ~4 people, from Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
4 egg yolks
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup of unsalted butter
pinch of salt
pinch of cayenne pepper
To start, melt the butter. Then, vigorously whisk the eggs and lemon juice in a stainless steel bowl. When they are well incorporated, place the bowl on a saucepan of water over medium heat (before it simmers). Whisk constantly, and when the water reaches a simmer, slowly pour the butter into the mixture, while whisking constantly. It should come together smoothly. The important thing here is the way that you heat the mixture. It has to be slow–if it gets hot too quickly, the mixture will be grainy. If it gets heated too much (if the water boils) or you stop whisking, the eggs could scramble. You don’t want either of these things, so be sure to heat the mixture slowly so that it stays smooth. And don’t stop whisking. After the butter is added, whisk the sauce until it thickens (2-3 minutes). Remove it from the heat and whisk in the cayenne pepper and salt. Set aside and serve lukewarm.
4 beets, roasted, peeled, and diced
5 small red new potatoes, diced
2 sweet potatoes, diced
1 onion diced the same size as the potatoes and beets
1/2 pound bacon, cooked and diced
To roast the beets, trim and scrub them, then wrap them in tin foil with a little olive oil and roast them at 400 degrees for one hour. When they’re done, unwrap them, let them cool, and their skins should slide right off. Dice ’em up. Now, boil the diced potatoes (both kinds) for 8 minutes or until they’re soft.
Sweat the onions in olive oil until they’re translucent, then add the potatoes. Toss them around, then add the beets and bacon. Stir until everything is mixed well and turned a little red from the beets. Spoon some of the hash onto each plate.
Now is where you would poach eggs if you know how. But, if you’re like me, your poached eggs don’t really turn into anything edible. So, I fried 2 eggs overeasy and used those instead. However you cook the eggs, put them on top of the hash, then spoon hollandaise over that. Sprinkle some pepper and some thyme. Serve immediately.
And there’s brunch!