What do eggs, asparagus, salmon, mushrooms and spinach all have in common? Don’t know? They all go amazingly well with a rich, yellow hollandaise sauce (and they actually all go amazingly well together). Yeah, you’ve heard me; this sauce is not just for Eggs Benedict – no hate for Eggs Benedict, though. I don’t know about you, but I believe this buttery condiment can make any simple ingredient taste like the most luxurious dish.
Making your own hollandaise can sound a bit intimidating at first, it’s one of the five classic French ‘mother sauces’ after all (Yeah, despite the name it’s not actually a Dutch sauce, but us Dutchies sure do love it!). Luckily, this rich, velvety sauce is really quite easy to make at home and all it takes to add some simple luxury to your dish are some egg yolks, lemon juice and melted butter.
Truth be told, there’s always the threat of creating a lumpy hollandaise, or having the usually silky sauce split and curdle. To avoid splitting, curdling, or in the worst-case scenario, burning, the most common method for making hollandaise is beating your egg yolks in a bain-marie. If you keep the water on a very gentle simmer, your sauce should thicken relatively slow, giving you enough time to breathe a little whilst whisking vigorously. If you still feel like the emulsion is starting to curdle, or split, lift the bowl off and on the heat, or add an ice-cube… and never stop whisking.
I prefer my hollandaise a bit tangy to counter-balance the richness, but some people may prefer a sweeter version. To achieve this, simply leave out the 1 tablespoon of vinegar listed in the recipe below. Last but not least, a nice Hollandaise should always be served warm and should be prepared right before serving. Unfortunately, the sauce usually doesn’t reheat well and may split while you try to do so… which would be a pity after all that whisking, wouldn’t it?
- 2 egg yolks
- 125g butter
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon cold water
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Fill a deep pot halfway with water. Bring water to a boil and reduce the heat to keep it on a gentle simmer.
- Separate your egg yolks by cracking the egg on an edge of a bowl and carefully passing the yolks between the eggshells, letting the whites drip into the bowl below. Place the yolks in a separate stainless-steel, or glass bowl.
- Melt 125g of butter in a small saucepan. When the butter is fully melted, take it off the heat and set aside.
- With a balloon whisk, beat the two egg yolks, 1 tablespoon of cold water, 1 tablespoon of vinegar, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and ½ teaspoon of salt together in the stainless-steel bowl until the mixture becomes a bit frothy and thick.
- Place the bowl over the pan of just simmering water, making sure the water does not touch the bowl. Vigorously beat your egg-mixture whilst very very slowly drizzling in the melted butter. Continue whisking until all the butter has been incorporated and the sauce turns smooth, thick and creamy. Make sure not to overheat and scramble your eggs! Serve immediately.