Hollandaise is a fantastic sauce for asparagus, eggs Benedict, and many other dishes. Yet, a typical recipe makes too much for one of two people and you're often left with excess sauce. This recipe, on the other hand, makes just two servings—perfect for an intimate brunch at home.
Hollandaise is often thought of as one of the five essential sauces in cooking. It has a tart, yet creamy, flavor due to the combination of butter and lemon. It's very easy to whip up at home and you will quickly find that this made-from-scratch sauce is superior to any of those packets you can get at the market. If you can boil water, use a whisk, and pour ingredients, you can make your own Hollandaise!
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice (plus more, if needed)
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
- 4 tablespoons/2 ounces unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
- 1 1/2 teaspoons water
Gather the ingredients.
Choose a small saucepan and a metal, or heat-proof, glass bowl that fits securely in the top of the pan. Put 1/2 to 1-inch of water into the saucepan (just enough so the water level doesn't quite touch the bottom of the bowl when it's set in the pan.) Set the pan over high heat. Once it boils, turn the heat down to keep the water at a bare simmer.
In the bowl, whisk the egg yolk, 1 1/2 teaspoons of lemon juice, salt, and white pepper until the mixture is uniformly yellow and slightly thickened.
Set the bowl in the pan and whisk slowly, but constantly, until the mixture starts to thicken. Be sure to whisk throughout all parts of the bowl. If steam starts to leak from underneath the bowl, turn the heat down a little. (Note: when doing this step, make sure to use a kitchen towel to hold the side of the bowl, as the steam from the saucepan could potentially burn your hand.)
Add one piece of butter and continue whisking until the butter is incorporated.
Then add another piece of butter. Repeat until all the butter is incorporated. The sauce should be thick, smooth, and glossy.
Whisk in 1 1/2 teaspoons of water. Adjust the seasoning, adding more lemon juice if desired.
Remove the pan from the heat and serve immediately, or it can keep over the hot water for a half-hour or more, provided you whisk it occasionally.
- Cut your butter into 8 equal pieces and have them ready right next to the stove. They will be added to the sauce one at a time while whisking.
- Let the egg and butter reach room temperature before starting the sauce.
- Stirring in the butter when softened, but not melted keeps the sauce from breaking.
- For further refinement, strain the finished sauce to remove little bits of coagulated protein. Simply pour it through a mesh strainer into the serving vessel.
Raw Egg Warning
Consuming raw and lightly-cooked eggs poses a risk of food-borne illness.