A rich, delightfully delicate sauce to complement salmon, fish, egg dishes and an exquisite accompaniment to vegetables like asparagus. Hollandaise is French for ‘Dutch sauce’. It has interesting roots, seeped in history, and whether the foundations are from France or Netherlands, it’s had a huge impact on the food we enjoy throughout the world.
The 5 Mother Sauces
19th-century French chef Augustine Escoffier made a list that he called the 5 French mother sauces of French haute cuisine (rich, elegant cuisine using the highest quality ingredients). The 5 mother sacues are béchamel, hollandaise, velouté, espagnole and tomato. But can the French claim Hollandaise as their own?
History of Hollandaise
1 theory has it’s origins in France’s Normandy region, a town known for producing high-quality butter “Isigny-Sur-Mer’. As history has recorded, during World War 1 France could not produce butter, which meant butter had to be imported from Holland, leading to the name Hollandaise for the sauce.
But we know that the origins of Hollandaise sauce actually reach much further back in history. Possibly at least to the 16th century and the French Huguenots who introduced Hollandaise sauce to French cuisine fon their return from exile to the Netherlands.
The Huguenots were a religious group of French Protestants who were persecuted for their faith and exiled to Holland. They believed in the reformed Calvinist movement of the protestant church and at time in history when opposition to catholicism meant exile; or to stay in France a worse fate.
So whether from the Netherlands or France, Hollandaise sauce is a gift to the world that we all appreciate.
- 1 tablespoon of water
- 2 egg yolks
- 4oz (125g) unsalted butter
- pinch of salt
- a few drops of lemon juice
In the top of a double boiler, place water and egg yolks. Don’t allow the water in the bottom pan to boil.
Whisk over hot water until light and fluffy.
Add butter in small increments to the egg yolks, whisking well until butter is melted and sauce begins to thicken. Keep adding butter, stirring constantly until all butter has been added.
Add small pinch of salt and a little lemon juice to taste..
Caution: Too much lemon juice will overpower the sauce and ruin it
How to make blender Hollandaise Sauce
Use sauce to accompany pan fried fish, ham steaks, grilled or barbecued lamb chops or steak, Hot vegetables like brocdoli, asparagus, new pototoes.
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon water
- 125 g butter
- cayenne pepper or white pepper and salt to season
These quantities make 3/4 to 1 cup.
Place eggs yolks, lemon juice and water in blender and blend on a high speed for a few seconds.
Melt butter in a saucepan until hot and foaming. Don’t let it brown.
Gradually add melted butter to blender, blending at top speed after each addition. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.
Serve warm or cold depending on desired consistency and dish that Hollandaise sauce is accompanying.
Troubleshoot sauce that won’t thicken
If blender Hollandaise sauce refuses to thicken, pour out of the blender and return, drop by drop, as you blend continually.
As butter cools it starts to cream and form a thick sauce.
Herbs of choice can be added to the basic receipe.
How to make Eggs Benedict
Bacon, preferably ‘eye bacon’.
This is the round piece of the bacon which generally doesn’t have the rind attached. It’s the leanest cut bacon, having just a thin layer of fat.
This cut is a health-conscious choice if you still want to enjoy the flavor of bacon, but cut down on the calories. Because it has a lower fat content, you’ll find it doesn’t shrink as much when cooking.
Bacon can also be substituted with ham, proscuitto, smoked salmon
Eggs Florentine swaps ham or bacon for spinach
Add mustard and herbs to top asparagus with Hollandaise
Heat a pan to a medium, low heat. Add the strips of bacon.
My Success Tips for
- Eggs should be fresh Using free-range and cage free is preferable to caged eggs
- Eggs should be at room-temperature
- Allow melted butter to cool slightly before adding
- Lemon juice should be freshly squeezed (not bottled)
- Butter sauce like Hollandaise can be kept over a pan of lukewarm water or a faint flame for up to 1 hour. But, beware, if the heat is too warm sauce will curdle.