Dress up fresh, wild Alaska cod — or salmon, halibut, scallops — with a classic side of asparagus and other spring vegetables. Simple and delicious, the kicker is a rich, velvety hollandaise. There’s nothing easier and as impressive than this version of the French mother sauce whizzed up in a blender. It also gets the stamp of approval from chef Julia Child, who claimed this streamlined version “to be within the capabilities of an 8-year-old child.” Basically, lemon and egg yolks turn light and airy with the addition of slowly added hot melted butter. Blend the yolks for a full 30 seconds, which heats them as well as gives the sauce some body and lift. Melting the butter at a low temperature so the water doesn’t completely evaporate helps emulsify the sauce. You’ll want to make the hollandaise just before serving; it takes only a few minutes. Hollandaise pairs well with fish and asparagus but also brightens up poached eggs and makes for a great dipping sauce for french fries and other meats and seafood. You can also make it your own by adding roasted garlic or fresh herbs or any other spices you prefer. Cooking the fish and veggies all together on a sheet-pan is a great hack — it helps with prep and clean-up. — Kim Sunée
Sheet pan cod primavera with blender hollandaise
Makes 4 servings
For the cod and vegetables:
1 1/2 to 2 pounds Alaska cod fillets
2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed
2 to 4 green onions
4 to 5 red or multi-color radishes, halved or quartered, depending on size
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 to 4 lemon slices
For blender hollandaise:
Makes about 1 cup
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter
5 egg yolks
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
2 to 3 cloves roasted garlic or 1 clove raw minced garlic
Optional: smoked paprika; fresh basil or thyme; ground turmeric or saffron
• Heat oven to 450 degrees. Pat cod dry with paper towels. Season lightly with salt and pepper; set aside. Brush a rimmed sheet-pan with oil. Trim tough ends off asparagus; use a vegetable peeler, if desired. Trim and cut radishes in half or quarters, depending on size. Spread asparagus, radishes, and whole green onions evenly on sheet-pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Roast at 450 degrees for 10 minutes, turning vegetables after five minutes. Remove pan from oven. Make room for cod. Place cod on sheet-pan and top with lemon slices. Drizzle all over with olive oil. Roast for 10 to 12 minutes, shaking sheet pan or stirring vegetables halfway through cooking, as needed. Cook until fish is opaque and flakes easily; time will vary depending on thickness and desired degree of doneness.
• When fish and veg are almost ready, start the hollandaise: Melt butter in a medium saucepan over low heat, or in a glass/microwavable measuring cup in microwave; you don’t want the butter to release too much steam as the water in butter helps emulsify the sauce so use low heat. Rinse eggs well; separate whites and yolks; store whites in fridge for another purpose. Place yolks, lemon juice, salt, cayenne, garlic or other optional ingredients in bowl of a blender. When fish and veg are ready, remove pan from oven and finish the sauce.
• To finish the hollandaise: Cover and blend yolks, lemon, juice, salt, pinch cayenne, and garlic on medium-high speed for about 30 seconds — use a timer or count — so yolks are pale and not runny; the blender blades will heat the yolks slightly and give the sauce some lightness and body. If using a saucepan to heat butter, transfer melted butter to a measuring cup with spout so it’s easy to pour. Remove the cap/plug from the blender lid but leave lid on, and with blender running on high, slowly and carefully drizzle in all the hot melted butter through the small opening; blend a few more seconds until sauce is emulsified. Turn off blender and taste; add a little more salt, pepper, or lemon, as needed. Sauce should be creamy, pale yellow, and velvety. Serve immediately with fish and vegetables.
Note: This sauce is best fresh out the blender, so use immediately, or, if necessary, store in blender until needed, in a warm spot, next to the stove or add hot water to a pot or bowl and place blender of sauce in pot.
Raw egg note: This sauce includes uncooked egg yolks, which does carry a small amount of risk. Please use caution in consuming raw and lightly cooked eggs due to the risk of salmonella or other food-borne illness. To reduce this risk, use only fresh, properly refrigerated, clean grade A or AA eggs with intact shells. Immunocompromised people, babies, and other groups may need to avoid this sauce for the reasons stated above. If you’re unsure of your risk, please consult a trusted physician.