Quick Start With an Easy Hollandaise

If you've been thinking about Easter brunch or dinner but don't relish the idea of complicated recipes, think again. Dishes that require a tricky sauce like hollandaise--eggs Benedict and asparagus hollandaise come to mind--are easier to make than ever before.

This large-quantity processor hollandaise speeds the work for any dish it accompanies. Preparation time is less than 10 minutes and there is no on-the-stove cooking. Best of all, the hollandaise can be prepared ahead and reheated.

If you choose eggs Benedict for brunch, try varying the traditional Canadian bacon, poached egg and English muffin formula by substituting thinly sliced Italian prosciutto, smoked salmon, smoked chicken or turkey for the bacon.

Or dress up a vegetable like asparagus with hollandaise and serve it as an Easter dinner appetizer. Hollandaise is also a wonderful accompaniment for seafood. It dresses up baked tomato halves and works wonders for broccoli, as well. LARGE-QUANTITY HOLLANDAISE

4 egg yolks

1/4 cup warm water

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups hot clarified butter (160 to 180 degrees)

Freshly ground white pepper

2 teaspoons lemon juice

3 to 4 drops hot pepper sauce

Insert metal blade in dry processor container. Process egg yolks with water and salt 1 minute, until frothy. With machine running, pour hot clarified butter through food chute within 30 seconds. Process 5 seconds longer.

Add pepper to taste, lemon juice and hot pepper sauce. Process 5 seconds to mix. Adjust seasoning to taste. Sauce should have light, foamy consistency. Sauce is ready to serve. (Pusher can be inserted into processor to hold sauce 5 to 8 minutes. Pulse once or twice before using.)

If preparing ahead, transfer sauce to small saucepan, cover with plastic wrap touching top of sauce and set aside at room temperature several hours. Do not refrigerate. Reheat sauce by whisking over low heat until just hot to touch. Add warm water by tablespoons to thin, if necessary. Do not heat sauce above 150 degrees or leave it unattended on stove since it will curdle. Makes 1 2/3 cups (about 8 servings).

Note: To clarify butter, heat in microwave or saucepan until melted and foamy. Remove from heat and set aside 1 minute. Skim off and discard white foam.

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