Hollandaise sauce is an emulsion of egg yolk, melted butter, and a dash of acidity either lemon juice, white wine or a white wine vinegar reduction, whisked together with a pinch of white or Cayenne pepper, normally in a ‘bain-marie’ or double boiler. Hollandaise is very similar to Mayonnaise but is made using warm melted butter and is served warm. Hollandaise is one of the five master sauces used in French cookery and has many derivates such as Béarnaise usually served with grilled steak.
Traditionally Hollandaise is used to glaze Eggs Benedict and is paired with fresh Asparagus, a combination dating back to 1651 in ‘Le Cuisinier François’ by François Pierre La Varenne which includes a recipe for Asparagus with fragrant sauce.
3 free-range Egg yolks
200 gr Unsalted Butter
3 teaspoons fresh Lemon juice
2 teaspoons warm Water
A pinch Cayenne Pepper
Place the butter in a small pan and set on the back of your stove or hob. The pan does not need to be heated directly just placed somewhere warm enough to melt the butter. Allow the milk solids to sink to the bottom of the pan and decant off the clarified butter. Set aside and keep warm. Place a medium glass or stainless-steel bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, being careful not to let the bowl touch the water. In the bowl whisk the egg yolks until they are pale yellow, and the resulting mixture has a thick creamy texture. Switch off the heat.
Using a small ladle pour in a thin stream of the warm butterfat while continuously whisking. Continue until all the liquid is incorporated. If the resulting sauce becomes too thick, thin with a little warm water. Add the lemon juice, season to taste and serve. The Hollandaise will keep warm set above the warm water covered lightly with tin foil for fifteen to twenty minutes.
If your Hollandaise splits or curdles you have probably tried to add the butter too quickly, a couple of teaspoons of freshly boiled water whisked vigorously into the split sauce may help retrieve it. If this does not work, you can whisk up a further egg yolk in a fresh clean bowl then slowly add the split hollandaise whisking all the time.
The following recipes are for a base of 500 ml of Hollandaise.
Sauce Béarnaise – Replace the lemon juice with a reduction of white wine vinegar, two peeled and sliced shallots, a sprig of fresh chervil and four or five tarragon stems, reserving the tarragon leaves to add later. Strain the reduction before adding to the sauce and whisk in the chopped tarragon leaves before serving.
Sauce Choron – Replace the lemon juice with a reduction of white wine vinegar, two peeled and sliced shallots, and four or five parsley stems. Strain the reduction before adding to the sauce and whisk with 1 heaped tablespoon of tomato puree.
Sauce Paloise – As for the Béarnaise sauce substituting fresh mint for tarragon.
Sauce Bavaroise – finished the Hollandaise with 3 tablespoons of fresh Double Cream, 2 teaspoons of prepared Horseradish, and ¼ teaspoon freshly chopped Thyme leaves.
Sauce Crème Fleurette – Whisk 4 heaped tablespoons of Crème fraîche into the Hollandaise sauce base.
Sauce Moutarde or Sauce Dijon – Is Hollandaise finished with 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard.
Sauce Maltaise – Replace the lemon juice with the juice of a blood orange and the very finely sliced and blanched zest.
Sauce Mousseline – Is produced by folding 150 ml cream which has been whipped to a soft-peak into the Hollandaise sauce base.
Allergens in this recipe for Hollandaise are;