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The Basics- Hollandaise Sauce

Hollandaise

Hollandaise

Julia Child calls this one of the Mother sauces. I love Hollandaise, probably because it’s a crucial component for my favorite meal, Eggs Benedict and right there with that is asparagus with Hollandaise. It’s creamy, buttery, citrusy, I could almost drink it, well not really but I do really like it. The classic method of preparation is to whisk over a double boiler which is how the recipe will be written here. I can’t always be bothered to do this and I take a shortcut, blender Hollandaise, pouring the hot butter into a whirring blender or food processor (much like the mayonnaise) the hot butter heats the yolks and is blended into a delicious creamy thick sauce.

Asparagus with hollandaise

Asparagus with hollandaise

Hollandaise Sauce

Makes approximately 1 1/2 cups

3 egg yolks

big pinch of salt

1 tbs lemon juice ( I like it very citrusy so I add some lemon zest also)

2 tbs cold unsalted butter

2 sticks ( 8 oz) unsalted butter melted

salt and pepper to taste

Beat the egg yolks with a wire whisk in a stainless steel saucepan for a minute or two until they thicken lightly and turn lemon colored. Whisk in the salt and lemon juice and add 1 tbs cold butter. Set over moderate low heat and whisk continuously at moderate speed. remove pan from heat now and then to make sure the yolks aren’t cooking too fast. When they cling to the wires of the whisk and you can see the pan between strokes, remove from heat and stir in the 2nd tbs of cold butter. Start beating in the melted butter by little dribblets at first, until a good 1/2 cup of the sauce has thickened, then add the rest of the melted butter a little more quickly as the sauce thickens into the consistency of heavy cream. Taste and correct seasoning.

I cut corners because I cannot really hand whisk so I thought why not try a blender or food processor. It comes together in minutes and works well. I whiz the egg yolks, lemon, lemon zest and salt until light and creamy, now add the 2 tbs of cold butter and whiz together and  drizzle in the melted butter with the blender or processor running, stop when thick and creamy. If you have leftover sauce, refrigerate no more than a day or two and heat GENTLY in double boiler.

Troubleshooting Hollandaise:

If you have added the butter too fast for the egg yolks to digest it, or if you’ve kept the sauce over heat too long, it can thin out or separate. To bring back to a creamy state, whisk briefly to blend and add a tablespoon into a bowl, whisk in a tbs of lemon juice and whisk vigorously until creamy. Now whisk in very little dribbles of the turned sauce gradually increasing the amount until is is all creamed and has reconstituted.

Eggs Benedict

Eggs Benedict

YUM!

YUM!

Variation:

Bernaise Sauce with steak is one of lifes great pleasures. It is basically hollandaise with some vinegar, shallot and taragon. To make Bernaise to a small saucepan add 1/4 cup white wine vinegar and 1/4 cup white wine, 1 tbs minced shallot, 1/2 tsp dried tarragon, 1/4 tsp each of salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and cook until it reduces to 2 tbs. Use this in place of the lemon juice and reduce the butter to 1 1/2 sticks. Optional add chopped fresh tarragon at the end.

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66 Comments Post a comment
  1. You’ve made me long for eggs benedicte now! And asparagus, although I’m going to have to wait a month or so for those. Great, classic recipe! Lovely photos by the way.

    February 6, 2014
    • Thank you, I bought asparagus even though it’s not in season, don’t like doing that but it was in season somewhere. I love hollandaise and this was a treat haven’t had either in a long time.

      February 6, 2014
  2. Wow- that hollandaise on asparagus looks so good! Thanks for sharing, Suzanne.
    Hope your finger is feeling better…

    February 6, 2014
    • Thank you , I love asparagus with hollandaise or even dipping the asparagus into a runny egg yolk. Still working on the finger, ugh!!

      February 6, 2014
  3. talkavino #

    I will definitely have to try it! Love proper eggs Benedict!

    February 6, 2014
  4. Liz #

    Now here’s a sauce I’ve never given much thought to. You’ve made it look so lovely and appetizing! First I am trying that mayo, then might need to move on to this one. Love that you’re covering the basics. Looking forward to whatever is coming next :-)

    February 6, 2014
    • I so rarely make hollandaise but once you have made it a few times it’s like riding a bike, at least they say you never forget. It is just so good, it’s a great treat Thanks Liz.

      February 6, 2014
  5. Like you, I LOVE egg Benedict, and do know it is mainly because of the Hollandaise sauce. I love it on steamed vegetable too. Thank you for the detailed recipe/steps including the troubleshooting.

    February 6, 2014
    • Thanks Fae, yes Eggs Benedict is one of my all time favorites and hollandaise really does make it. it can transform a simple vegetable into a truly elegant and delicious treat.

      February 6, 2014
  6. Always good to post the basics. Thanks for sharing!

    February 6, 2014
    • Thank you, yes totally agree. It’s a building block for cooking.

      February 6, 2014
  7. I need to send you some of our Meyer lemons from our tree. Pinning away here ;)

    February 6, 2014
    • I would buy some lemons from you. I have never had a lemon straight from the tree and meyer lemons, oh they are wonderful.

      February 6, 2014
  8. hcwsblog #

    Eggs Benedict with hollandaise sauce is the only way I eat eggs. Your picture of the dish reminds me that I haven’t had the dish in quite a while. I’ve never attempted to make hollandaise sauce, but you make it look very tempting to try.

    February 6, 2014
    • It’s really pretty easy to make, I use my blender or food processor and just drizzle the butter through the feeding tube or hole in the top and voila you have hollandaise. I really love eggs benedict, one of my all time favorites, thank you so much!

      February 6, 2014
  9. Oh gosh, I just love hollandaise, but I don’t make it enough. I guess I always think it’s going to be sort of a pain in the butt, but I need to try out the blender way!

    February 6, 2014
    • It is a pain to make using your whisk, ugh… arm ready to fall off afterwards. The blender method is super easy to make cleaning the blender is difficult but I found that adding super hot water and whizzing the water gets all the pesky sauce out of grooves. Thanks Lori.

      February 6, 2014
      • Yes, it always gives me bad flashbacks to culinary school, and the whisking until my arm fell off. And also the EPIC drain problem I caused by putting several failed batches down the garbage disposal. Lesson learned on that one :)

        February 6, 2014
      • LOL, I know I always made it with my whisk, probably where I got Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. I love the blender method, works like a charm.

        February 6, 2014
  10. We are just completely in step with one another! I just bought artichokes to make and serve with hollandaise just like Julia! :-)

    February 6, 2014
    • Oh wow, I love artichokes and hollandaise, now I am going to get some to eat with the leftover sauce. Great idea!!

      February 6, 2014
  11. Lovely sauce my friend, I think I need to whip it up for breakfast :D

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

    February 6, 2014
    • Thank you, yes it is wonderful for breakfast on potatoes, vegetables or eggs!

      February 6, 2014
  12. I have to tell you again, because I’m struck by it again, that I really really like this new look of your blog. It’s minimal but quite appealing. Artichokes I can live without but as for the hollandaise, I love it so, and egg benedict I love it even more. Very much digging your back to basics posts.

    February 6, 2014
    • Thank you, I really love the look of the blog now, every time I see it it feels soothing and so appealing. Yes eggs benedict, the food of the Gods, I love it.

      February 6, 2014
  13. Now that’s a coincidence because just last weekend I was thinking how much I would love a fillet steak with hollandaise sauce but ending up deciding against. I too love eggs benedict but sadly I am often disappointed in the hollandaise when I order the dish in a cafe or restaurant.

    I hope your finger is beginning to mend. ;)

    February 6, 2014
    • I love hollandaise or bernaise on steak. Some nice crisped roasted potatoes, now I’m hungry. I am veryparticular about the sauce has to have a nice amount of lemon in it. Thanks so much.

      February 6, 2014
  14. I’m so happy to see this right now! I’m getting ready to go steam some asparagus and happen to have everything needed to make your hollandaise. Sound so delicious right now! I really like your tips too because for some reason I seem to mess up when I try to make “sauces” such as this. Wish me luck! :) I’ll say it again…really like your new look Suzanne! It is so clean looking.

    February 6, 2014
    • I hope it works please do let me know. I use the tbs of lemon juice and the zest from the whole lemon, I do love my lemon. Thank you so much!

      February 6, 2014
  15. Oh how incredibly heavenly! Eggs benedict are one of my all-time favourite dishes and they haven’t cropped up on my menu for ages. They will now. Thank you for this beautiful reminder!

    February 6, 2014
    • Thank you, I haven’t had in a while either, much too long really. It is such a delicious dish!!

      February 7, 2014
  16. OH yum! I love hollandaise sauce but I have never tried making it. I will definitely stop here first if I choose to do so :) I am a huge fan of Eggs Benedict and I Like the asparagus idea !

    February 6, 2014
    • Hollandaise is wonderful and can be customized, add some spice drizzle over potatoes and it’s patatas bravas, great over vegetables and of course my fave eggs benedict. Thank you!

      February 7, 2014
  17. Your hollandaise sauce looks creamy and beautiful over the asparagus Suzanne. My hubby used to make the yummiest hollandaise sauce many years ago. He used to manage a seafood restaurant and learned so many tricks and would surprise me with some yummy dinners. Thanks for sharing and bringing back memories :)

    February 7, 2014
    • Oh hollandaise is so wonderful glad you have such good memories of the hubby making it. Thanks Brandi!

      February 7, 2014
  18. Looks absolutely delicious Suzanne! This will be perfect for the weekend… for a lazy Sunday breakfast! Eggs Benedict always seems like such a treat – so yummy. Great to get your tips on how this sauce works best for you… invaluable! :)

    February 7, 2014
    • I have some leftover sauce that will be on eggs benedict this weekend, it’s positively indiulgent/ Thanks so much!

      February 7, 2014
  19. Lovely sauce Suzanne, it must be easier to use blender instead of the whisking, good idea! :)

    February 7, 2014
  20. Great- love hollandaise sauce. All your recipes using it look amazing- especially the Eggs Benedict (my fav breakfast by far!). :)

    February 7, 2014
    • Me too, I swear I could eat it every day it’s so good. Thanks so much Jessica!

      February 7, 2014
  21. This is the exact way, I make it too. 😃MMMMMMMMM! X

    February 7, 2014
  22. Oh Suzanne, I cannot even start telling you how much I love good Hollandaise! Especially in eggs Benedict, one of my favorite egg dishes ever… provided they are cooked properly (more than once at restaurants I happened to be served hard boiled eggs instead, which totally ruined the dish…)
    Thanks for sharing the recipe and have a wonderful weekend! :-)

    February 7, 2014
    • Oh yes me too, I also have had the eggs almost hard boiled. They must be perfectly poached so that the yolk is runny. Thanks so much Stefano and you and the family also have a great weekend.

      February 8, 2014
  23. I can’t believe I’ve never made hollandaise! Yours looks so perfect, and over the eggs benedict … well. Now I’m super jealous.I’ll have to copy you VERY SOON ;)

    February 8, 2014
    • Thank you, it’s really not difficult and so worth the effort. Hope you get to give it a try soon!

      February 8, 2014
  24. I love Eggs Benedict, and mostly because of the hollandaise. This looks so good – I wish I had it for breakfast right now!

    February 9, 2014
    • Exactly, without the hollandaise it’s just ham and egg on bread. Thanks so much Susan.

      February 9, 2014
  25. What a luscious color– these pictures are moth-watering. thanks Suzanne.

    February 9, 2014
    • I happen to really love a creamy pastel yellow so making it made me happy! Thanks so much Rhonda.

      February 9, 2014
  26. Christina #

    I have never made Hollandaise, or better yet, had Eggs Benedict! Am I missing something? Your post made me want to try it! Sometimes I wonder why I haven’t tasted so many popular dishes! Thanks, Suzanne! :)

    February 10, 2014
    • Oh Christina, yes in my opinion you certainly are missing a real taste treat. Hollandaise is amazingly delicious and Eggs Benedict, well I could live on it, I am not kidding. It’s that good. Please do give a try and let me know what you think!!

      February 10, 2014
  27. ohlidia #

    Oh, it all looks beautiful and delicious Suzanne! What a rich and heavenly hollandaise!

    February 11, 2014
  28. Perfect looking Hollandaise sauce! Now I think I’ll make some for Valentine’s Day. Sometimes I like to spike it with some cayenne, paprika, or hot sauce. I think I’ve been having too many chili of some sort lately though, hehe.

    February 12, 2014
    • I forgot to mention that in my post but yes adding cayenne is a great addition and I do it often. It’s such a great sauce and can be used on so many different dishes. Thanks so much.

      February 12, 2014
  29. sprinklesandsauce #

    very useful! we love ours on poached eggs!

    February 14, 2014
    • Yes poached eggs are wonderful smothered in hollandaise. Thank you very much.

      February 15, 2014
  30. We made your recipe this morning for some salmon eggs Benedict! We actually were following someone else’s recipe and I was not a fan and of course it did not turn out but yours did! :) Thanks!

    March 1, 2014
    • Oh, thank you I am so happy it turned out for you. I love salmon eggs benedict. I would love a plate right now.

      March 1, 2014

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