Servings: Yields about 1 cup
When made properly, hollandaise is light, billowy, lemony, and rich with butter and egg. The thing that makes the sauce truly French is the proper cooking technique, particularly whisking the yolks as they cook to capture air bubbles for a thick yet fluffy texture.
Make Ahead Tips
This sauce is best served right after you make it, but it can hold for 30 minutes. To keep it warm, put the uncovered bowl of sauce over a saucepan of hot (not simmering) water off the heat. Whisk again before serving.
Noisette Melt the butter over medium-low heat and continue to cook until it has a nutty fragrance and the milk solids have fallen to the bottom and turned golden, about 7 minutes. Skim the surface but use the golden milk solids from the bottom. Continue with the hollandaise recipe. The subtle nutty notes of the brown-butter pair beautifully with sole or flounder.
Béarnaise Simmer 1/4 cup white wine vinegar and 2 Tbs. dry white wine with 2 Tbs. minced shallot and 2 sprigs of fresh tarragon until reduced to 1 Tbs. of liquid. Remove the tarragon sprigs. Continue with the hollandaise recipe, using the vinegar reduction instead of the lemon juice. Finish with 2Tbs. chopped fresh tarragon instead of the lemon zest. This is a classic served with a pan-seared filet mignon.
Maltaise Substitute 2 Tbs. blood orange juice for the lemon juice, and blood orange zest for the lemon zest. (You could also use regular oranges or tangerines.) Try it on fat spears of steamed or grilled asparagus.
Refrigerate leftover hollandaise in an airtight container for up to 3 days. You won’t be able to serve it as a warm sauce, but it makes a nice spread for panini, or you could mix it with a little smoked salmon or chopped ham and broil on crostini for a great hors d’oeuvre.
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