The Mother Sauces, Part 3: Savory Hollandaise

Hollandaise, the only roux-free mother sauce, has earned a permanent spot on breakfast and brunch menus. In addition to its excellent mouthfeel, the sauce tastes like a delicious savory custard with a hint of lemon to brighten up the otherwise rich profile. The French mother sauce often drizzled over eggs benedict, vegetables, or salmon is a delectable emulsion of room temperature egg yolks, fresh lemon juice, and butter. All you need is a whisk and just enough heat to encourage the yolks to take on a smooth, creamy consistency to ensure that the emulsion is a success.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 7 minutes


Yields 1 cup
⦁ ½ cup unsalted butter
⦁ 4 egg yolks, at room temperature
⦁ 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
⦁ 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
⦁ Pinch of cayenne pepper
⦁ Kosher salt and black or white pepper, to taste
⦁ Hot water, if needed


1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until it starts to foam. Set aside but keep warm.
2. Vigorously whisk the egg yolks and lemon juice together in a heat-safe bowl until smooth.
3. Place the bowl over a saucepan with a little over an inch of barely simmering water. The bottom of the bowl should not touch the water.
4. Whisk as you slowly pour in the melted butter. The butter should be warm, not hot.
5. Continue to whisk until the sauce thickens and doubles in volume.
6. Remove from the heat then stir in the Dijon mustard and cayenne.
7. Season to taste with salt and pepper. At this point, you can transfer the sauce to a gravy boat to make serving more convenient.

Tips: If the sauce gets too thick while standing, whisk in a bit of hot water to return it to the desired consistency.

Do not leave the sauce out for more than an hour.


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