How to make hollandaise, a sauce that somehow improves upon melted butter

Full disclosure: hollandaise sauce is essentially 100% melted butter and egg yolks. It’s absolutely not nutritious, which is just one reason it’s so delicious. Now that that’s out of the way, you’ll be thrilled to learn that it’s surprisingly easy to whip up hollandaise to pour on anything you please. Eggs. Asparagus. Lightly fried fish fillets. Candy. Ice cream. Small rocks. Everything. Prepare to set sail on a sea of silky, luscious butterfat.

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Things you can do with hollandaise sauce

  • Clean and trim a head of asparagus and toss with a spoonful of mayonnaise and a pinch of salt. (Mayo sticks to asparagus better than oil does.) Air fry at 400 degrees Fahrenheit until brown—about 7-10 minutes—shaking the pan halfway through. Serve with hollandaise.
  • In the time it takes to toast an English muffin, you can use the microwave to make eggs Benedict. Pour 1/2 cup of lukewarm tap water into a mug, crack in an egg, and cover with a saucer. Put a slice of Canadian bacon on top of the saucer, then stick it in the microwave for 60 seconds. Remove the saucer and check to see if the egg white is opaque—if not, keep microwaving in 10-second increments. Put the Canadian bacon on the English muffin, drain the egg into a slotted spoon and place on top, then smother with hollandaise. (You can swap the Canadian bacon for smoked salmon if you feel like treating yourself to something extra special.)
  • Add Old Bay seasoning to hollandaise sauce to taste; serve with Baltimore coddies. (They take a little time to make, but they’re worth the effort.)
  • Same with these fried potato puffs, which can be served with hollandaise, too.

Hollandaise Sauce

  • 1 stick butter
  • 4 egg yolks
  • Juice of one extra large lemon, or two smaller lemons
  • Pinch of good salt

Melt the butter in the microwave or a small saucepan. Keep it warm by setting on the back of the stove.

Fill a saucepan with 2" of water, then place it over high heat and bring to a simmer. Find a metal bowl that will fit snugly on top of that saucepan (but don’t place it on top just yet).

While the water is heating, place the egg yolks into the metal bowl and whisk vigorously until they become pale yellow and double in size. Whisk in the lemon juice, then put the bowl over the simmering water and continue beating vigorously for 30 seconds.

While whisking, add the melted butter a few teaspoons at a time, making sure everything is well incorporated before you add more butter. Continue whisking until the sauce, once again, doubles in volume, then immediately remove from heat. Whisk in a pinch of salt, then beat for another minute to help the hollandaise cool slightly. Taste for seasoning, adding salt or any other seasonings as you desire. Serve immediately.

Allison Robicelli is a writer, recipe czar, former professional chef, author of four (quite good) books, and The People's Hot Pocket Princess. Tweet me for recipe help: @Robicellis.

DISCUSSION

DaddyRoundRound
DaddyRoundRound

Alternatively, if you have an immersion blender, you can save a whole lot of elbow grease. Mix your eggs, lemon juice and salt in a cup that just fits around the head of your blender. Melt your butter, on the stove, in the microwave, however you see fit, and with the blender running, slowly drizzle in the hot butter. Much like making mayo this way, the blender will create a vortex, sucking the new butter into the emulsion. Now you have delicious hollandaise without breaking a sweat.

Credit to the always great J. Kenji Lopez-Alt for this recipe, demonstrated below: