Hollandaise Sauce

hollandaisesauceIt’s asparagus season, and the best thing to eat with asparagus is a nice piece of pan seared salmon.

And what holds this meal altogether and rockets it into the gourmet stratosphere?

Hollandaise sauce.

Hollandaise sauce isn’t hard, but it does take a little care and attention. I usually whip this up before cooking a meal, and let it sit off heat until I need it. It might form a skin if left for a while, you can prevent this by covering it with a little baking paper, but I usually just give it a stir every now and then. If necessary, it can be very gently reheated before serving.

A double boiler or bowl over simmering water is usually recommended, but I just cook this up in a normal saucepan. The key is to melt the butter slowly, whisking continuously. If unsure, add only a tiny amount of butter at a time and stir it in before adding the next pat. To regulate the heat, I just lift it off the burner and continue to whisk.

Slow and steady turns out a perfect sauce every time but it still only takes about 5 minutes to make.

Ingredients - makes 300ml

3 egg yolks

1 Tbsp of lemon juice, more if needed

pinch cayenne pepper

225g (8oz) butter, cut into small cubes

salt and white pepper to taste


  1. Combine yolks, lemon juice and cayenne in a saucepan. Whisk together well.
  2. Set the pan over a very low heat and add the butter a little at a time, whisking so that as the butter melts it is blended well into the yolks. You want the butter to melt slowly, so regulate the heat by removing the saucepan if necessary. Remember slow and low prevents the hollandaise from separating.
  3. When the butter has melted continue to whisk over low heat until sauce thickens slightly. Taste the sauce and add the salt and pepper to taste and any extra lemon juice if needed.

If your sauce does happen to separate, as long as the yolks haven’t scrambled, it is salvageable. Remove from heat and add 1-2 teaspoons of water and whisk vigorously. If this doesn’t work, add 1 – 2 teaspoons of water to a bowl and whisk in sauce drop by drop at first and then in a continuous stream. I’ve had to do this once and the sauce was perfectly fine in the end, despite the kicking and swearing.

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