Why Greek Avgolemono Sauce Takes Some Practice To Perfect

Greek cuisine is known for its zesty salads, fried cheese, and deliciously grilled meats and seafood. It's characterized by its lightness, its freshness, and, above all, its intense, bright flavors. Along with well-known favorites, such as moussaka, taramasalata, or spanakopita, countless other culinary gems are yet to become as familiar to those in the U.S. Greek Avgolemono sauce is one such item — a versatile and flavorful sauce that's deceptively simple, as it demands some practice in order to be perfected.

While its appearance is somewhat similar to that of Hollandaise, this sauce has one pronounced difference: it contains no butter. Instead, the sauce combines warm broth, lemon juice, and eggs. Getting the perfect balance of temperature with these ingredients can be complicated. Blending the three together simultaneously could result in the egg cooking in the broth, resulting in a fragmented, runny omelet affair.

There are a few tricks for achieving the perfect consistency, but perhaps the most important is to blend the ingredients gradually into one another, to create a smooth sauce instead of a split one. Perfecting an avgolemono sauce is all about patience, temperature, and perseverance, it can be challenging, but there are some tips guaranteed to yield the perfect sauce.

How to perfect the Avgolemono technique

First of all, temperature is vital. You don't want the difference in temperature between the eggs and the broth to be too extreme. Using room-temperature eggs will lessen the likelihood of the sauce curdling, as will using warm, not boiling, broth. Ultimately, achieving the perfect temperature equilibrium among the ingredients minimizes the chances of the sauce separating.

It's also essential to avoid boiling the sauce at any time, which would rapidly thicken the sauce and cook the eggs at a faster rate than the sauce can bind, making it dense, lumpy, and claggy. If your sauce seems slightly too thin, leave it to rest for 15 minutes. As it cools, it will thicken. Many recipes call for you to add a small amount of cornstarch to the beaten egg mixture before whisking in the broth. This helps to thicken the sauce and to prevent curdling. Creating this sauce demands patience but also endurance, as it requires constant whisking as the sauce bonds in order to produce the silkiest avgolemono.

How to serve the sauce

The nature of the dish you plan to use the avgolemono for will dictate the consistency you want in the sauce. For instance, if you're serving the sauce with grilled meats, roasted vegetables, or on top of greens, you may wish for a thicker texture. You can adjust the ratio of broth to eggs, as well as leaving the sauce to sit before using.

Avgolemono sauce is also commonly used as a base in soups, whether that's the iconic avgolemono soup, which sings with the flavors of fragrant chicken and rice, or Youvarlakia, which is a hearty beef meatball soup. In these dishes, the avgolemono sauce can be made with the broth that your chicken or meatballs have cooked in, and you can adjust the thickness of the soup by adding more liquid or leaving it on the heat longer. In the making of soups the sauce serves as a thickening agent, and the goal is to ensure it integrates seamlessly, adding a velvety citrus zing without overwhelming the flavors of the soup.

Practice is the key to perfection, and with a little patience and care, you can whip up a batch of this smooth, delightfully lemony sauce. And then you're all set to enjoy a big bowl of heavenly avgolemono soup, a crusty piece of bread, and a delicious glass of ouzo