An Easy Hollandaise Sauce Recipe

This easy Hollandaise sauce recipe gives new life to otherwise bland vegetable, fish and egg dishes. Although sinfully rich, a little Hollandaise sauce goes a long way. Because it cannot be safely stored for long, you'll want to learn how to make Hollandaise sauce so you can whip up a batch the next time you're looking for a way to dress up those asparagus spears.

History of Hollandaise Sauce
Hollandaise sauce is an egg-based butter sauce that uses either lemon juice or vinegar to offset the incredible richness of the butter and egg mixture. The sauce was first made in the Normandy region of France, a region known for its use of butter in its many recipes. However, very little butter was produced in France at the time the sauce was created, so most butter came from Holland, hence the name "hollandaise."

Easy Hollandaise Sauce Recipe
Ingredients You Will Need:
3 large egg yolks
¼ cup warm water
2 tablespoons lemon juice (warmed)
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter in slices, warmed slightly

Before you begin, you will want to carefully warm all the ingredients involved in the process. This makes it easier to incorporate the ingredients without causing any curdling or cooking of individual ingredients. By warm, the water and lemon juice should be just barely warm to the touch, not hot. The butter should be soft, but not completely melted.

Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites; discard the egg whites.

In a saucepan, combine the eggs with the warm water and lemon juice and whisk carefully. Heat the mixture over low to medium low heat (preferably over a double boiler), whisking the mixture at all times. Add the salt as you whisk. When the mixture has become warm, add in the first slice of the butter, completely incorporating the slice into the mixture before you add the next slice. Take your time, making sure each slice melts and becomes a part of the sauce before you add the next slice until all the butter has been incorporated and the sauce is warm but not so hot that any of it begins to stick to the pan. Use sauce immediately.

Troubleshooting Hollandaise Sauce Gone Wrong
There are three problems people commonly encounter when making Hollandaise sauce.

  • Scrambled Eggs: One, if you cook the cause on too high of a heat, the mixture may begin to cook, resembling scrambled eggs. If this happens, you'll need to dump out the sauce, clean the pan and start over again.
  • The Sauce Separated: If you sauce is separating, add a teaspoon of cream, and whisk the sauce over low heat until it looks properly combined again. Use the sauce immediately.
  • The Sauce Curdled: If the sauce curdled, you can try blending to restore the proper texture. This sometimes works and sometimes does not work. You may need to throw it out and start over.

Serving Suggestions for Hollandaise Sauce
Perhaps the most common use of Hollandaise sauce is for Eggs Benedict. This sauce is a beautiful topping for any steamed or roasted vegetable, but it is especially good on roasted asparagus, fresh zucchini or summer squash, or on a pile of steamed sugar snap peas. It is lovely on a piece of poached salmon or as a dressing on a piece of baked chicken.

Variations of Hollandaise Sauce
Some people prefer to make their hollandaise sauce with vinegar instead of lemon juice or with a touch of cayenne pepper for zest. For a more tangy sauce, add more lemon juice. You may prefer to grate a little fresh nutmeg on the top of the sauce to add a sweet aftertaste that can complement salmon or a steamed or roasted vegetable. Feel free to play around with the recipe to see what you like best.

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