There are few things we allow ourselves at breakfast as decadent and rich as Hollandaise sauce. And because it’s so rich we feel as though it’s complicated and difficult but I promise you – it’s not. It doesn’t require special equipment either; just a whisk! Knowing how to make this simple sauce is something worth while to have in your cooking arsenal because it can make a plain dinner special in a matter of moments. Your guests will think they’re at a fine dining restaurant and nobody has to know how simple it really is.
My favorite way to enjoy Hollandaise sauce is over eggs but it’s also fantastic on asparagus or salmon and you can flavor it any number of ways from herby and fresh to spicy and bold. This is the basic, classic recipe which if you ask me, is perfect just the way it is.
- ½ cup butter
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- pinch cayenne pepper
- Heat a medium sized pot with about 2 inches of water in it, over med heat until simmering but not boiling. (if poaching eggs for a benedict, I use this same pot later on so choose one that will suit both jobs)
- Melt butter in a coffee mug in the microwave (approx 60 seconds)
- Choose a heat proof glass bowl that can sit on top of the pot without the bottom touching the water. Place your egg yolks, lemon and pepper in this bowl and whisk to incorporate. Put the bowl on top of the pot. Slowly (SLOWLY!) drizzle the melted butter into the egg yolk, whisking the entire time (don't stop!) until all the butter has been added.
- Continue whisking until the sauce is thick (about 1-2 min) and that's it! You're done!
The worst problem you can have when making this sauce is to have your heat too high or your butter too hot and scramble the egg yolks. If that happens you’ll have to toss it and start over. This is why it’s important for the water in your pot to be simmering but not boiling (small bubbles instead of large, rolling ones.)
Your finished sauce will happily sit on your counter while you poach your eggs – just give it a stir now and then so a skin doesn’t form on the top.
If your sauce is too thick: Whisk in a small amount of warm water (1 tbsp should do it) and thin it out a little.
If your sauce ‘breaks’ and the egg yolk refuses to emulsify with the butter: whisk in a bit of cold water. If that doesn’t work, get a fresh bowl and whisk a single egg yolk in it. Slowly whisk your sauce into the new bowl and it should come together.