Recipe: Hollandaise sauce from “The Foundation: A Savory Education”

I know it has a reputation as being difficult, but here’s a secret: hollandaise sauce is incredibly easy to make. And, here’s an even better secret: if you do break the sauce, it is incredibly easy to fix. It is just a matter of knowing how. Don’t believe me? After the break, there is a recipe for hollandaise sauce and instructions on how to fix it if it should break, both from the technique book The Foundation: A Savory Education. You’ll see how easy it is.

Hollandaise sauce
Put a large pot of water on a medium high burner. Once the water is simmering, take the pot off the heat, drape a towel over the top of the pot so the rim is covered, and place a metal mixing bowl on top of the towel (the towel steadies the bowl). Put two egg yolks and a small dash of vinegar into the mixing bowl and whisk until your yolks thicken and lighten. Whisk in a small squirt of fresh lemon juice, then slowly, drop by drop, drizzle clarified butter made from one to one and a half sticks of butter into the eggs, making sure each drop of butter is incorporated before you add the next. Once about a third of the butter has been whisked into your mixture, you have an emulsification and can add the remainder in a slow pour. Once all the butter is incorporated, whisk in another dash of fresh lemon juice and salt to taste. You can also whisk in a pinch of freshly ground white pepper, a pinch of cayenne pepper, or a light dash of Tabasco sauce, if you like.

If your sauce breaks (it will look ragged and unappetizing), odds are, you have whisked in your butter too quickly. To fix it, whisk in a few drops of water. If your sauce is too far gone for this to work, get a new bowl, pour in a spoonful of water, place the whisk you were using in the hollandaise in the water, and whisk until the small amount of sauce on your whisk is incorporated into the water. Dip your whisk back into the broken sauce in your original bowl and return it to your new bowl and whisk again. Repeat until the contents of the broken sauce have been whisked into the hollandaise in the new bowl.