Hollandaise sauce is a tart, creamy sauce which has its basis in the ability of egg yolks to emulsify fats. It is good on green vegetables, essential in making eggs Benedict, and with the addition of a mixture of herbs becomes Béarnaise sauce for red meats.
Real Hollandaise sauce is easy to make, and much better than packaged sauces. It's better than the sauces made in blenders and food processors, too. You'll need a double boiler and a wire whisk. Two sauce pans, one smaller than the other, can be substituted for the double boiler.
- 1-1/2 sticks unsalted butter
- Yolks of four large eggs. (If you use medium eggs, reduce the butter somewhat or use five yolks)
- White tarragon vinegar
- Lemon juice
- Salt, paprika, and cayenne pepper.
- Bring water to a slow simmer in the bottom of a double boiler.
- Melt the butter in a sauce pan and keep it warm, not hot.
- In the top of the double boiler, but off the heat, whisk together the egg yolks (separate the whites with your fingers or an egg separator), 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1 tablespoon white tarragon vinegar until the mixture is smooth.
- Reduce heat for the double boiler until boiling just stops. Cook the egg mixture in the double boiler over low heat stirring constantly with the whisk until the mixture thickens slightly. Don't let the water boil.
- When the egg mixture has thickened, remove from heat and whisk in the butter a little at a time. Start with just a few drops at a time... once the emulsion begins to form, you can add butter in a thin stream.
- Season the sauce with 1/2 teaspoon paprika and a bit each of salt and cayenne pepper. Keep warm but not hot.
If the sauce curdles or separates, add 1 teaspoon cold water and whisk vigorously. You can repeat this process three or four times... this will generally save a separated butter/egg sauce.
This recipe may be doubled once (no more). It will not work for a smaller amount.
Orignially posted: 2012-02-26