Among the five mother sauces in French cuisine, Bechamel sauce is most often used in our home cooking. But Hollandaise sauce is my favorite. It’s the butter, you see.
When Julia Child died in 2004, I was already a blogger, I had blogger friends and because there weren’t a lot of food blogs around the world (mine was the first food blog in this country although a lot of people insist on taking that credit), food bloggers kinda knew each other by blog name.
There was a buzz in blogs that Julia Child had died. And I went, “Julia Who?” It might have sounded sacrilegous but I really hadn’t heard of her. But I knew Nora Daza, Stephen Yan and Biba Caggiano because I watched their TV shows a decade or so earlier. I Googled, saw some videos of Child’s old TV show (in black and white) and filed the information in a folder in my head labeled “For Future Use”.
What I did not drop into that folder was a blog called The Julie/Julia Project by Julie Powell which, of course, became a book and, later, a movie with Meryl Streep playing Julia Child. I dove into that blog almost as soon as I discovered it. It was in Julie’s blog where I learned that Julia Child was a proponent of French cooking.
Over the years, I would learn to cook a few French dishes decently but my default has always been Asian. It wasn’t until our younger daughter, Alex, went to culinary school and learned classical French cooking that French food started to pop up in home conversations more and more often.
Bechamel sauce had been in my cooking repertoire for decades. Hollandaise was something I picked up when my daughters where already in high school. It was Alex who introduced us to demi-glace and it’s something neither she nor I will not labor over at home.
But Hollandaise sauce? Alex makes it beautifully.
- ¾ cup butter
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice mixed with one tablespoon water
- 2 pinches salt
- 1 pinch cayenne optional
- Melt the butter and cool.
- Place a heat-proof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water (the bottom of the bowl must NOT touch the water).
- When the bowl is warm to the touch, pour in the egg yolks and lemon juice mixture, and start whisking them together immediately until lighter in color.
- Transfer the egg yolk mixture to the bowl of the stand mixer (or any mixing bowl if using a hand mixer).
- Start whisking the egg yolks over low speed.
- Turn up the speed to medium and start drizzing in the butter, a few drops at a time at the start.
- When the mixture starts to thicken, turn up the speed to high and pour the melted butter is a very thin stream.
- Continue whisking until the mixture is fully emulsified. To test, scoop with a spoon and allow to drip back into the bowl. If the liquid falls in ribbons, it is done.
- Taste the Hollandaise sauce and add as much salt as your taste buds require.