Egg yolk and clarified butter bond in this classic French "mother sauce."
French for “Dutch sauce,” Hollandaise was first documented in François Pierre de la Varenne’s Le Cuisinier françois (1651) but one origin story credits the recipe to French Huguenots returning from exile in Holland. This is the queen of egg emulsion sauces, a sister to mayonnaise, and mother of Béarnaise Sauce. Modern versions call for a dash of ground cayenne, and we’re not ones to shy away from a peppery kick.
Featured in: “The Mothers of All French Sauces.”
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 tsp. white wine vinegar
- 8 oz. clarified butter, heated to 125°F
- Fresh lemon juice
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Cayenne pepper
- Fill a medium pot halfway with water and bring to a simmer. In a metal bowl that sits atop the pan without touching the surface of the water, whisk together the yolks, vinegar, and ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon cold water. Whisking constantly and regulating the heat of the stove to avoid boiling, cook the egg mixture until the yolks are lighter in color and a ribbon consistency has been formed, 2–4 minutes. Turn off the heat, but leave the bowl atop the hot water bath. Slowly begin drizzling in the hot clarified butter a tablespoon or so at a time while whisking continuously, being sure that all of the butter has been emulsified into the egg mixture before adding more. Once all of the butter has been added, season the sauce to taste with lemon juice, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Use immediately.