hollandaise n : eggs and butter with lemon juice
- Form of feminine, hollandais
Hollandaise sauce is an emulsion of butter and lemon juice using egg yolks as the emulsifying agent, usually seasoned with salt and a little black pepper or cayenne pepper. It is a French sauce, so named because it was believed to have mimicked a Dutch sauce. Hollandaise sauce is well known as a key ingredient in Eggs Benedict. The sauce is one of the five sauces in the French haute cuisine mother sauce repertoire.
Hollandaise requires some skill and knowledge to prepare; care must also be taken to store it properly after preparation. Properly made, the sauce should be smooth and creamy. The flavor should be rich and buttery, with a mild tang added by the lemon juice and seasonings. It must be made and served warm, not hot. If the ingredients are emulsified improperly by over- or under-heating them they will separate, resulting in the sauce "breaking" from the emulsion and the yolks coagulating from excessive heat. The sauce may be portioned and frozen for future use. When ready to use, let it come to room temperature; some stirring may be required.
As early as in 1651, François Pierre La Varenne describes a sauce pretty similar to Sauce Hollandaise in his groundbreaking cookbook Le Cusinier Francois: "avec du bon beurre frais, un peu de vinaigre, sel et muscade, et un jaune d’œuf pour lier la sauce" "make a sauce with good fresh butter, a little vinegar, salt, and nutmeg, and an egg yolk to bind the sauce; take care that it doesn't curdle...".
Alan Davidson notes a "sauce à la hollandoise" from François Marin's Les Dons de Comus as fin 1758, but since that sauce included butter, flour, bouillon, and herbs, and omitted egg yolks, it may not be related to the modern hollandaise. However, Larousse Gastronomique states that, in former times fish 'à la hollandaise' was served with melted butter (implying that at one time egg yolks were not a part of the designation). Davidson also quotes from Harold McGee (1990) who explains eggs are not needed at all and proper emulsification can simply be done with butter. He also states that if one does wish to use eggs they are not needed in as great quantities as normally called for in traditional recipes.
The sauce using egg yolks and butter appeared in the 19th century. Though various sources say it was first known as "sauce Isigny" (a town in Normandy said to have been renowned for the quality of its butter), Mrs. Isabella Beeton's Household Management had recipes in the first edition (1861) for "Dutch sauce, for benedict" (p. 405) and its variant on the following page, "Green sauce, or Hollandaise verte". Her directions for hollandaise seem somewhat fearless:
- "Put all the ingredients, except the lemon-juice, into a stew-pan; set it over the fire, and keep continually stirring. When it is sufficiently thick, take it off, as it should not boil..."
Many authorities use the following preparation method - A wire whisk and a thin-bottomed bowl work fine. The egg yolks must be beaten thoroughly first, then the lemon juice beaten into them. Then the butter (preferably clarified butter; clarified, meaning it has been melted and the milk solids removed) is added very slowly, while the mixture is being continually beaten and held over a pot of simmering water. (Room temperature is too low; most stovetop burners and even double boilers are too hot, and will overcook the egg, though skilled sauciers are able to prepare their mixtures over an open burner.) The mixing bowl should be over, but not in contact with, the simmering water. Eventually it will thicken palpably, enough to resist the wrist. The butter can then be added more quickly, the sauce is seasoned, and it can be "held" in this state by being kept warm for some time. A normal ratio of ingredients is 1 egg yolk:1 teaspoon lemon juice:4-6 Tbs. butter.
The same method -- with no heat, replacing the butter with oil, and adding some ground mustard -- is used to make mayonnaise.
Derivatives of Hollandaise Sauce
The following list is a non-exhaustive listing of minor-sauces created by adding ingredients to Hollandaise Sauce (as a 'mother sauce')
- Sauce Mousseline - whipped cream folded in to Hollandaise (also known as Sauce Chantilly).
- Sauce Béarnaise - replace lemon reduction in recipe with a strained reduction of vinegar, shallots, fresh chervil, fresh tarragon and crushed peppercorns.
- Sauce Maltaise - lemon zest (blanched) and juice of blood orange.
- Sauce Divine - reduced sherry folded into whipped cream.
- Sauce Noisette - Hollandaise made with browned butter (beurre noisette).
- Sauce Bavaroise - cream, horseradish, thyme.
- Sauce Foyot (a.k.a. Valois) - add meat glaze (Glace de Viande) to Bearnaise.
- Sauce Colbert - Sauce Foyot with addition of reduced white wine.
- Sauce Paloise - Béarnaise but substitute mint for tarragon (great with Lamb).
- Sauce Creme Fleurette - add Crème fraîche.
- Sauce Choron - Béarnaise plus tomato purée (without tarragon or chervil).
- Sauce Dijon - add Dijon mustard (also known as Sauce Moutarde or Sauce Girondine).
- Sauce au vin blanc (for fish) - add reduction white wine and fish stock.
- Mrs. Beeton, The book of household Management, 1861: Project gutenberg e-text
- History of Sauces
- History of Hollandaise
- Hollandaise Name History
hollandaise in Danish: Hollandaisesauce
hollandaise in German: Holländische Sauce
hollandaise in Spanish: Salsa holandesa
hollandaise in Esperanto: Holandezo
hollandaise in French: Sauce hollandaise
hollandaise in Hebrew: רוטב הולנדז
hollandaise in Dutch: Hollandaisesaus
hollandaise in Norwegian: Hollandaise
hollandaise in Swedish: Hollandaisesås
hollandaise in Chinese: 荷蘭醬