Sauce Hollandaise
Culinary techniques

Sauce Hollandaise (breaking down the basics)

Sauce Hollandaise is one of 5 Mother/Leading sauces in French culinary world. The base of the Hollandaise sauce is butter, specifically clarified butter, and the thickening agent is an egg yolk.

In case of this sauce, however, egg does not act as a thickening agent due to a process of coagulation. In fact, we need to try to avoid it by any means. If eggs start to coagulate in this recipe, our sauce will de destroyed. Instead, an egg thickens our sauce though a process of emulsification, i.e. combining of 2 immiscible liquids (fat & water) though vigorous mixing.

Check out my video tutorial (in Russian) on how to properly prepare sauce Hollandaise

For heath and safety purposes, one should keep this sauce at 145 F. In addition, the total life of the Hollandaise sauce should not be more than 2 hours, even if you keep it at proper temperature. That’s why, this sauce is always prepared to order and never kept for long, it’s highly perishable.

Here are some suggestion for you of foods that pair nicely with sauce Hollandaise:

– Eggs Benedict / Florentine eggs

– Fatty fish (like salmon)

– Brocoli and Asparagus

Hollandaise sauce with eggs Benedict & eggs Florentine

Preparation time: 5 min

Cooking time: 20 min

Per servings: 2

Ingredients:

  • 25 g White wine vinegar
  • 35 g Water
  • 4 White peppercorns
  • 5 g Shallots (brunoise cut)
  • 5 ea Bay leaves
  • 1 Yolk (of a large fresh, pasteurized egg)
  • 85 g Clarified butter
  • Salt (to taste)
  • 5 g Lemon juice (fresh)

Equipment & tools:

  • Double-boiler
  • Small sauce pot
  • Small sieve
  • Knife
  • Whisk

Directions:

  1. Place vinegar, water, peppercorns, bay leaves and shallots into a small sauce pot and simmer the mixture on low heat for about 10-15 min, until the mixture get infused and reduced twice in size. Strain and discard all the flavourings (peppercorns, bay leaves and shallots).
  2. Set up a double boiler over a pot with boiling hot water. However, switch off the heat completely.
  3. Pour our vinegary liquid (from Step 1) and an egg yolk into a double boiler and start vigorously mixing with a whisk, until fluffy consistency. Here, it’s very important for the vinegary liquid to be just warm and not hot, in order to avoid the coagulation of an egg.
  4. Start adding clarified butter, drop by drop. It also must be just warm and not hot. If you add too much butter at a time, the sauce will split, so add it very slowly.
  5. Once you add all the butter, sauce will reach ribbon consistency. At this point, add lemon juice and salt and whisk again. Sauce will slightly transform in colour to a paler version and will also loosen up to a perfect consistency of a Hollandaise sauce.
  6. Serve your sauce immediately and enjoy!

If you want to learn how to poach an egg properly, click HERE.

You can also see more of my video recipes HERE.