Hollandaise sauce is one of those things I like to eat because it feels naughty, but when you’re paleo, it isn’t. Sometimes I just want something savory and creamy and amazing, and Hollandaise fits the bill. I remember when I realized Hollandaise sauce was made of all things I choose to eat daily. I eat grass-fed butter regularly (sometimes straight from the knife as a snack – don’t judge me). If you’re following the primal path and doing dairy, then homemade Hollandaise shouldn’t be a problem for you.
But WAIT! In the last year Whole9, the folks I look to for the most definitive and stringent “is this paleo” guidelines, added clarified butter to their list of Whole30 approved foods! (Clarified butter is butter that has been melted down and had the milk solids removed, leaving pure butter fat.) I tested this recipe to see if it works with clarified butter, and it does. I know, you’re excited, keep your pants on. You can still eat this on a Whole30 or if you avoid dairy completely.
I know. I know!
I also tested several methods of making Hollandaise sauce as, quite frankly, most of the methods out there are arduous and I’m lazy. Below I detail the method I’ve found works best, and is the least difficult. It takes a little time, but you can multitask while it happens, I believe in you. I also included a remedy option in case something goes awry and you end up with a glob of scrambled egg and butterfat, because all is not lost.
I like this breakfast option because, as you know, I like to eat greens with breakfast. This is a great way to sneak ‘em in.
Paleo Eggs Benedict
For the Hollandaise Sauce – Adapted from Tyler Florence’s Recipe:
4 egg yolks
1 tablespoon lemon juice (fresh or bottled, I’ve found it doesn’t matter)
1/2 cup grass-fed butter or clarified butter, cut 3/4 inch-ish cubes
Dash of salt
Dash of cayenne pepper
1. Very important: take your butter cubes and put it in the freezer for at least 15 minutes, even 30. You want the butter very, very, cold. Maybe even a little frozen.
2. When butter is almost done chilling, combine the lemon juice and egg yolks in a small saucepan and beat furiously with a whisk for about a minute.
3. Place egg mixture on your stove and turn the burner onto the very lowest heat setting you can. Do not get all macho here and crank up the burner. Trust me.
4. Add the butter chunks to the egg mixture, and don’t you dare touch that heat. Keep it very low.
5. Slowly stir the butter chunks around in the mixture as the whole thing starts to warm and the better starts to slowly melt. Again, this all needs to happen rather slowly, otherwise you’ll get a buttery scrambled egg disaster. As the butter melts more, stir more.
6. When the butter cubes have fully melted, add the salt and cayenne pepper, then stir constantly until the sauce has thickened to your liking.
7. Cover the saucepan to keep warm, remove from heat, and set aside while you assemble the other ingredients.
WAIT. How did it turn out? Did you get a velvety smooth sauce that is such a beautiful yellow it makes your heart sing? If so, well done Grasshopper. But if yours seemed to separate and you now have a kind of chunky, curdled mass with yellow butterfat seeping out, do not despair and do NOT throw it away! Instead, remove from the pan into a glass dish, cover, and put in the fridge. When it is fully cooled, stir in the hottest water your tap will give you one teaspoon at a time. Stir vigorously. The butterfat and eggs should re-emulsify and you will have creamy Hollandaise.
For the Benedict:
2 large eggs
3 cups of fresh spinach
2 slices of nitrate-free Canadian Bacon
3 Tablespoons of homemade hollandaise sauce
1 Tablespoon grass-fed butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1. Put a frying pan over medium heat and add the butter.
2. When butter is melted, add the garlic and let it start to sizzle and release it’s garlicky goodness aroma. If you don’t feel like cutting up garlic, you can skip this step and go straight to #3.
3. Add spinach, and let it cook down to your liking, stirring occasionally.
4. While spinach is cooking, put another small frying pan to medium-low heat. Put your Canadian bacon on to start warming up.
5. While the spinach and the bacon are going, poach your eggs. I am a cheater and I use an egg poaching dish. For the love of your sanity and all that is holy, I recommend you do the same. If you’re an overachiever and just have to do it the traditional way, here’s a video.
6. Pull the spinach off and the bacon off the burners. Remove the eggs from the poaching dish/poaching water.
7. To assemble: make a little bed of spinach on your plate, and add a spoonful of Hollandaise sauce. Add a piece of Canadian bacon, then a poached egg, then more sauce. Do not be stingy with the sauce. Either repeat and make another little stack next to the first one, or keep going and make a fun Eggs Benedict tower, like I did.
Note about Whole30: I could not find sugar free Canadian Bacon, so if you are on a Whole30, I highly recommend that you seek out some sugar-free regular bacon, and use that instead. (When I do this, I chop the cooked bacon up and use it as sprinkles on top.)
This recipe works fantastically with asparagus as well, and regular bacon if Canadian bacon isn’t your thing.
I hope you enjoy!