Hollandaise sauce is a must-have for the perfect eggs Benedict, and it’s delicious on asparagus and fish, too. This is the easiest recipe for making the classic sauce at home, with no fuss or mess!
What is hollandaise sauce?
Hollandaise is one of the five basic mother sauces, sharing the spotlight with bechamel, veloute, tomato, and Espagnole sauces. It’s a rich, creamy sauce made by emulsifying egg yolks, melted butter, lemon juice or vinegar, and spices. The ingredients for the sauce are whisked together in a bowl, set over a pot of simmering water, until the eggs are cooked and a thick sauce forms.
There is no doubt that learning how to make hollandaise sauce will help you impress everyone sitting at your weekend brunch table. For whatever the reason, people tend to feel fancy when eating eggs Benedict. Aside from that, the rich, velvety smooth sauce is incredibly delicious over vegetables, especially asparagus and broccoli!
Is it safe to eat raw eggs?
Although some people eat raw eggs for the high protein value, there is a risk of Salmonella bacteria being present in uncooked eggs. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), Salmonella is responsible for 23,000 hospitalizations and 400 deaths a year. For that reason, some people have concerns about the fact that the eggs in Hollandaise sauce are only partially cooked.
The real question is, can you get Salmonella from eating hollandaise sauce? While the possibility of it does exist, it is not likely to happen. Here are some facts to consider:
- According to the FDA, eggs qualify as “safe” to eat once they reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. At that temperature, the heat will kill any Salmonella bacteria.
- Facts on the American Egg Board website state that the risk of an egg being contaminated with Salmonella are 1 in 20,000. In other words, you would have to eat an awful lot of eggs to find that golden ticket.
- The classic hollandaise sauce recipe, originating in France, called for raw eggs, straight from the farm. To prevent the risk of foodborne illness, many chefs and cooks nowadays use pasteurized eggs to make hollandaise. The pasteurization process uses very high heat, so any bacteria present will be killed off.
When you make a hollandaise sauce recipe, simply use common sense and proper food handling and you should be just fine.
What consistency should Hollandaise be?
The perfect hollandaise sauce is smooth, slightly glossy looking, and pourable. If you notice a grainy appearance, it’s a sign that your sauce is “broken”, meaning, the ingredients have separated. If this happens, know that it happens to just about everyone at one point or another. The good news is, you may not need to toss the sauce – broken hollandaise sauce can sometimes be fixed!
To fix the broken sauce, you can try one of two things:
- Whisk a teaspoon of boiling water, one drop at a time, into the broken sauce, OR
- Place one egg yolk into a large bowl and very slowly whisk the broken hollandaise into the bowl.
- 1/2 cup butter, melted - 1 stick, 113g
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 2 egg yolks
- salt/pepper - optional
- Melt the butter over low heat until almost all liquid. Remove from heat right before it's all melted and stir until completely melted. Transfer into a container with a spout.
- Separate eggs and put egg yolks in a bowl that fits over a small pot without touching the pot's bottom.
- Add dijon mustard and lemon juice to egg yolks and salt (pepper) if using unsalted butter and whisk until smooth.
- Bring 1 cup of water to a low simmer in a small pot and once simmering add bowl with egg yolk-mustard-lemon mixture on top and whisk constantly until slightly warm.
- Pour butter in a very thin steady stream to the yolk mix while continuously whisking. NEVER STOP WHISKING.
- Depending on how liquid and pourable or thick you want your hollandaise you either remove the sauce from the heat right away or keep whisking for a couple more minutes. When you ALMOST reached the consistency you like, remove from the heat and still continue whisking, it will thicken up still a little bit more. See video.