Every cook should be able to make classic French Mother sauces and hollandaise is one of the great ones, perfect for asparagus, fish and American favourite Eggs Benedict. It had a cameo role on Downton, but who knew it was always keto friendly.
This version created by Master Chef Auguste Escoffier, who inventedthe 5 mother sauces, set the standard for all us to follow.
Easy Peasy Hollandaise, the Mother of Sauces
- 1 tbsp. white vinegar
- 1 tbsp water
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 cup clarified butter*
- 1/2 medium lemon, juiced to thin the sauce if required
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper, to taste
- 1/4 tsp. salt to taste
- Make the Clarified Butter by melting the butter over low heat in a heavy saucepan. Remove the pan from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Skim the foam from the top, and slowly pour into a container, discarding the milky solids in the bottom of pan.
- Place yolks, water and vinegar in a metal bowl, whisking until incorporated.
- Place the bowl on a pot of simmering water, and quickly whisk until yolks are lighter in color and a ribbon consistency, then remove from heat.
- Heat clarified butter to 125 F (warm, not hot).
- Slowly add butter to yolks, whisking constantly. Add a few drops of lemon juice to thin the sauce if you need to. Season to taste with salt, cayenne and lemon juice.
- You can hold the sauce at 125F for 1.5 hours. The best way to keep it warm is by putting over a pan of lukewarm water, it will hold perfectly. Too warm and it will curdle.
- If the Sauce is too Thick: beat in 1 to 2 tablespoons of hot water, vegetable cooking liquid, stock, milk, or cream.
- If the Sauce Refuses to Thicken: if you have beaten in your butter too quickly, and the sauce refuses to thicken, rinse out a mixing bowl with hot water. Put in a teaspoon of lemon juice and a tablespoon of the sauce. Whisk for a moment until the sauce creams and thickens. Then whisk in the rest of the sauce half a tablespoon at a time, beating until each addition has thickened in the sauce before adding the next. Your patience will be rewarded.
- The Downton Cure when the Sauce has Broken or "Curdled: if a finished sauce starts to separate, a tablespoon of cold water beaten into it will often bring it back. If that fails, whisk another egg in a separate heated bowl, and then slowly whisk in the curdled sauce.
- Leftover Hollandaise: you can keep leftover hollandaise for a day or two refrigerated but freezes great. You can add it to other sauces as well to enhance flavour. To reheat, whisk a couple of tablespoons over very low heat or over another pot of simmering water, then gradually whisk in the remaining sauce.