The uncertain history of Hollandaise: dueling stories of a tasty sauce
November 2, 2016 9:46 AM   Subscribe

Hollandaise sauce might sound like a typical Dutch delicacy, however, it isn’t from the Netherlands at all, and instead was originally called Sauce Isigny (Google books) after a town in Normandy, Isigny-sur-Mer, known for its butter and other dairy products, but was renamed Sauce Hollandaise in World War I when butter was imported from Holland. Or was it? (Gb). When the once exiled Huguenots returned from northern Europe back to France, they may have brought a creamy, lemony sauce known as Sauce à la Hollandaise, as listed there in François Marin's 1758 cookbook Les Dons de Comus, and similarly in The Book of Household Management by Mrs. Isabella Beeton as "Dutch Sauce for Fish," and "Green sauce, or Hollandaise verte" (Archive.org).

Either way, Hollandaise has been fully adopted by the French, and considered one of the five mother sauces.

However you mix it, it's a tasty topping for a variety of proteins and vegetables, and has generally the same (type of) ingredients: eggs, butter, and lemon. You can spice up the lemon with white wine vinegar and some spices, or swap the eggs and make a mock Hollandaise with light mayonnaise, or swap the butter for coconut oil or olive oil. Or really twist the recipe and swap lemon for ruby-red grapefruit AND drop the butter for olive oil. The options are endless!

If you've tried and failed to make Hollandaise sauce before, Serious Eats' The Food Lab has one-minute recipe with an immersion blender (YouTube), or maybe it takes two minutes, according to their webpage version of the recipe). And from the YouTube link, you can watch hours of other people cooking Hollandaise sauce and others.
posted by filthy light thief (58 comments total) 47 users marked this as a favorite
 
You forgot to explain what JCHL stands for
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 9:49 AM on November 2, 2016 [13 favorites]


I like using shallot, coarse cracked pepper, and white wine, cooked au sec, then revived with a splash of wine and strained. Makes a great, densely flavored addition to the sauce.

Also, a dash of cayenne pepper adds a subtle warmth that I really like.
posted by jedicus at 9:50 AM on November 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


Inspired by the Hollandaise derail in the most recent 2016 US Election post (start of the sub-discusion).

And inspired by a mis-reading of one_bean's comment on the relationship between comfort (foods/ found in cooking) and stress, I suggest a Recipe November theme.


You forgot to explain what JCHL stands for

That's the purpose of the Election Thread Reference page on the MeFi Wiki.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:52 AM on November 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


Is this the new election thread?
posted by phunniemee at 9:53 AM on November 2, 2016 [5 favorites]


I can't believe you've done this.
posted by komara at 9:54 AM on November 2, 2016 [17 favorites]


I threw my head back and cackled loudly here at work when I seen this thread. I am easily amused. My coworkers no longer bat an eye.

on topic: I have never eaten Hollandaise sauce, primarily because I don't eat poached eggs. (or any eggs where the yolks are not 100% set)
posted by INFJ at 10:02 AM on November 2, 2016 [5 favorites]


During asparagus season that one minute hollandaise recipie gets a lot of use (I like a sprinkle of paprika for that little heat) it's rich enough to turn grilled or boiled asparagus into a hefty side.
posted by The Whelk at 10:02 AM on November 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


me, working garde-manger: *hiding behind the steam table*
my sous: ARE YOU DRINKING THE HOLLANDAISE
me, drinking the hollandaise: NO
posted by poffin boffin at 10:03 AM on November 2, 2016 [41 favorites]


I'm nominating this as best stuntpost of 2016
posted by Greg Nog at 10:04 AM on November 2, 2016 [25 favorites]


I'm glad this was posted, because I get so few opportunities to tell this story:

I had to have a small steel plate inserted in my mouth earlier this year. About a week ago I noticed the plate was already starting to rust. Naturally I went straight back to the dentist!

He asked me about my eating and drinking habits, looking for something that may have caused the problem. I explained that due to a recent Metafilter election thread (long story...) I had tried Eggs Benedict for the first time, and I liked it so much I'd had it for breakfast every day since.

The dentist advised that the solution was to remove the steel plate and replace it with a chrome one. When I asked why, he explained:

"Because there's no plate like chrome for the Hollandaise!"
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:07 AM on November 2, 2016 [85 favorites]


Most of what I know about hollandaise is that I can make it 10 times in a row and get 9 awesome results and one that makes me want to cry in a dark room for an hour until dinner is ruined.
posted by hippybear at 10:09 AM on November 2, 2016 [4 favorites]


"Because there's no plate like chrome for the Hollandaise!"

First, do no harm.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:12 AM on November 2, 2016 [26 favorites]


Blender Hollandaise isn't even a new idea - Julia Child included it in her first book back in 1961. (recipe here, reprinted from Saveur.)

But for fun, here's the episode of The French Chef where she makes it (and variations) the traditional way - and also gives tips on how to save it when it goes wrong.
posted by dnash at 10:13 AM on November 2, 2016 [6 favorites]


Daily Alice pointed out that Trader Joe's sells hollandaise sauce, for those who do not feel up to either the traditional or hand-blender prep methods.

I may be picking some up, if my local TJ's carries it, to try on potatoes on election night.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 10:19 AM on November 2, 2016


Most of what I know about hollandaise is that I can make it 10 times in a row and get 9 awesome results and one that makes me want to cry in a dark room for an hour until dinner is ruined.

Same thing with Mayo.

Important points to consider:
1) NEVER try and do it in another kitchen than your own.
2) Don't ever try to make Hollandaise or Mayo when one or both of your parents* and/or other people/cats who possess the evil eye) are watching.

(*I couldn't even light my grill once my father was supervising my actions.)
posted by Namlit at 10:19 AM on November 2, 2016 [5 favorites]


One of the more funny scenes on Good Eats was during the Hittin' the Sauce episode where Alton Brown steps us through how to make hollandaise. (Hollandaise starts at "scene 8" about halfway down the page. I would like video but food network has cracked down hard on episodes of good eats out on the web)
posted by INFJ at 10:20 AM on November 2, 2016


Is there a @SopanDeb of Hollandaise? Because I feel like I should be compulsively following a related twitter account and copy/pasting links with profound meaning/minimal comedic value/snark/a mildly amusing lede anecdote in here. The election has broken me. I...I don't think I know how to work a MeFi thread anymore.
posted by zachlipton at 10:22 AM on November 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


Ha! Well done. I should start crankily demanding threads for all of my favorite sauces. Nam chim me, metafilter!
posted by everybody had matching towels at 10:23 AM on November 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


komara: I can't believe you've done this.

I have been known to get baited into making stunt-ish posts.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:24 AM on November 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


Did you get that dinner?
posted by INFJ at 10:26 AM on November 2, 2016


[Election Night 2016, the Octorok household]

PBO: [emerges from kitchen carrying a heavily laden tray] Okay everybody time for election night snacks!

GUEST 1: What...what is that

GUEST 2: Are those tacos?

GUEST 1: In Hollandaise sauce??

PBO: Yes yes Egg McTacomuffins. A truck on every corner. Turn, turn, curse, spit! Hahahaha

GUEST 1: I'll pass, thanks

PBO: NO, NO! THEY'RE VERY GOOD AND RELEVANT! YOU JUST NEED TO READ THE WIKI!

GUEST 2: What Wiki, what are you talking about

PBO: MAN YOU DID NOT COME PREPARED FOR THIS ELECTION NIGHT PARTY WHAT ARE YOU A MEREDITH? HAHAHAHA

GUEST 1: We're leaving

PBO: Wait! Wait! I made mechanical JCPL meters for everyone!!

[Sound of door slamming, car engine revving]
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:27 AM on November 2, 2016 [31 favorites]


Egg McTacomuffins

I would actually eat one of those.
posted by dnash at 10:34 AM on November 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


I mean what are we talkin' here, you replace the muffin in a Benedict with a tortilla? Sure why not except a poached egg would be hard to eat by hand cuz of the runny yolk. So, maybe scrambled instead like for a breakfast taco, with ham mixed in, drizzled with Hollandaise and wrapped into a taco? This sounds ok to me?
posted by dnash at 10:40 AM on November 2, 2016 [4 favorites]


One word: Mornay. Ouefs a la Mornay. Yeah, that's right. Substitute Mornay sauce for the Hollandaise. That's all I'm saying. You're welcome.
posted by valkane at 10:45 AM on November 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


Don't read the election threads, but who cares why this post is made? HOLLANDAISE! Not sure I care about the history either because HOLANDAISE!
posted by AugustWest at 10:49 AM on November 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm trying to make a joke here that involved Rebecca sauce combined with Mornay sauce so a recipe might be called "served Rebecca De Mornay" but I'm failing.
posted by hippybear at 10:50 AM on November 2, 2016 [7 favorites]


The Hand That Rocks the Ladle, surely?
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:58 AM on November 2, 2016 [16 favorites]


Cook's Illustrated tested a number of different plate materials for Hollandaise back in last March's issue, and chrome actually finished way back in the pack—too reactive. Turns out there's no plate like titanium-vanadium alloy for the Hollandaise.
posted by Iridic at 10:59 AM on November 2, 2016 [6 favorites]


[A few comments deleted, carry on.]
posted by cortex at 11:12 AM on November 2, 2016


mandolin conspiracy: "The Hand That Rocks the Ladle, surely?"

Whisky business?
Eggs on a Train?
posted by chavenet at 11:16 AM on November 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


It was my wife's birthday weekend just now and I took great delight in pouring an unreasonable, birthday-exclusive quantity of Hollandaise over her benedict. It ribbons up so nice when you pour it.

When I was done pouring it was coincidentally only half gone so I did the same for my own plate.
posted by ftm at 11:26 AM on November 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


Well, it was her birthday, but normal convention is 2/3 - 1/3 allocation with 2/3 going to the chef.
posted by AugustWest at 11:35 AM on November 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


Turns out there's no plate like titanium-vanadium alloy for the Hollandaise.

I'd dearly love to hear the clever setup for that punchline.
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:51 AM on November 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


chavenet: Whisky business?

Hmm. The soundtrack's gonna need a rework, then.

Just take those english muffins off the shelf
I'll sit and sauce 'em up by myself
Other sauces are a waste of my days
I like that old time Hollandaise.

Don't take me out for Espagnole
It'll just end up down on the floor
And I'll just send back any veloutés
I like that old time Hollandaise

posted by mandolin conspiracy at 11:57 AM on November 2, 2016 [11 favorites]


Two favorite blender Hollandaise variations from the late, great Thursday Night Smackdown:
» Green Curry Hollandaise
» Chipotle Hollandaise
posted by mon-ma-tron at 11:57 AM on November 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


So... this is the new election thread?
posted by RolandOfEld at 12:12 PM on November 2, 2016


Only if you're voting for Hollandaise.
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:13 PM on November 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


Since PBO is too far away for me to crash their election night gathering, I think I'll make something with Hollandaise sauce for election night. That way, if things are unfortunate, (spit, curse, turn, wait, spit, turn, curse, wait, curse, curse, curse), I'll have something tasty to snack on while I try to fill out immigration papers for Canada. I don't see any reason why I can't put eggs, spinach, ham, tomatoes and Hollandaise in a tortilla, other than making a big mess. It can't possibly be messier than this election season.
posted by theora55 at 12:25 PM on November 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


Same thing with Mayo.

So I'm going to risk a mayo derail here, and maybe this needs a new mayo post, but I figure we're still in the realm of emulsified sauces, so.

Weird thing for me is I've never ever gotten mayo to work in a blender or food processor. Ever. Not only that, but! I have literally never broken a mayo whisking it by hand. It's the only technique I've ever used that hasn't failed for me.

I mean this not as a humblebrag, because I'm not a particularly brilliant cook or anything, but I'm beginning to think that this is the one thing I can do well naturally, the way some people can just play music or pick up languages easily. Me, my thing is turning dijon, egg yolks, and oil into chicken salad without fucking it up. And when I figure a way to make a software developer's salary doing that, I will retire a comfortable man with Popeye forearms.

(I did also discover that I can emulsify a balsamic vinagrette in a blender with about a 70% success rate, and I kinda prefer it that way.)
posted by middleclasstool at 12:39 PM on November 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


I have a confession, I'm still a Bearnaise fan. Even on my eggs Benedict, it's my choice and who I'd vote for in the upcoming breakfasts.

1 person serving dirty bearnaise sauce:
1 small shallot, fine dice
1 sprig fresh tarragon, chopped
salt to taste ~1 pinch
fresh ground black pepper
dash cayenne
2+ tbs tarragon vinegar
1 egg yolk
1/3 stick butter in small pieces

add shallot, tarragon, a few grinds of black pepper, salt, cayenne and 2 tbs tarragon vinegar to a small sauce pan, heat on medium until it starts to simmer, then reduce heat and simmer until shallot is soft or you run low on vinegar. Remove from heat, add butter to cool pan and melt butter, when melted add egg yolk and whisk vigorously until an emulsion forms, you will likely need to add in a dash or two more vinegar (if you like it sour like I do), hot sauce, or water to get the fat to water ratio right. Heat on low while constantly stirring to thicken if desired.

Leave all the bits in — during the cooking process, the shallot and tarragon essentially pickle, adding texture and added flavor to the sauce. Yes, it’s kinda ugly, but tastes wonderful, and you don’t have to mess up a strainer to get a pretty sauce.
posted by Blackanvil at 12:51 PM on November 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


I have a confession, I'm still a Bearnaise fan.

I think the general term for holdouts is 'bearnaise bros.'
posted by cjelli at 1:01 PM on November 2, 2016 [32 favorites]


Craziest thing, but it's actually 'bairnaise'. Everyone just remembers it wrong.
posted by Flashman at 3:13 PM on November 2, 2016 [14 favorites]


Good old emulsification, making straight eating half a stick of butter with your egg acceptable for five hundred years.

> melt butter, when melted add egg yolk and whisk vigorously until an emulsion forms

Huh, just all together like the blender method? I'm a pretty vigorous whisker but I'm not sure I could pull that off, unless melted butter is much easier to incorporate than oil.
posted by lucidium at 4:36 PM on November 2, 2016


I'm getting ready to make hollandaise for dinner because of you people. I notice at the end of the recipe I'm going to use it says Hollandaise cannot be cooled and reheated.

Which fine, I know, I've tried. But just FYI if you happen to have some kind of tragedy that means you have leftover Hollandaise: it's mayo. Spread it on something. You're not going to be sorry.
posted by Lyn Never at 6:23 PM on November 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


I craved hollandaise while pregnant with #2, so I'd make it in my kitchen and eat it over freezer French fries. Those were the days!!!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:55 PM on November 2, 2016


I'd make it in my kitchen and eat it over freezer French fries

All that would need to achieve perfection is either a healthy squirt of Sriracha sauce or a sprinkling of chipotle powder mixed in!
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:14 PM on November 2, 2016


oh my god you uncultured swine YOU HAVE TO CLARIFY THE BUTTER FIRST
posted by poffin boffin at 8:33 PM on November 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


A revelation once struck me: lemon curd is basically sweetened Hollandaise; Hollandaise is unsweet lemon curd. No wonder I love them both.
posted by Lexica at 8:35 PM on November 2, 2016


oh my god you uncultured swine YOU HAVE TO CLARIFY THE BUTTER FIRST

I trust in Kenji López-Alt, who says it doesn't matter.
posted by zachlipton at 8:48 PM on November 2, 2016


ugh does he say it's okay to just strain out the chunks when the sauce breaks too
posted by poffin boffin at 8:55 PM on November 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


But just FYI if you happen to have some kind of tragedy that means you have leftover Hollandaise: it's mayo. Spread it on something. You're not going to be sorry.

Never occurred to me that...huh

A revelation once struck me: lemon curd is basically sweetened Hollandaise; Hollandaise is unsweet lemon curd.

HUH
posted by middleclasstool at 6:09 AM on November 3, 2016


I knew a guy who dabbled in chef world and told me there are only two kinds of sauce: red sauce and white sauce.
posted by bukvich at 6:30 AM on November 3, 2016


The ones that aren't either a tomato sauce or some variety of fat/water emulsion are pretty much just light or dark roux used to thicken either stock or milk, yeah. Sauce categories are the culinary narcissism of small differences.
posted by middleclasstool at 8:44 AM on November 3, 2016



>> melt butter, when melted add egg yolk and whisk vigorously until an emulsion forms

>Huh, just all together like the blender method? I'm a pretty vigorous whisker but I'm not sure I >
>could pull that off, unless melted butter is much easier to incorporate than oil.

I think it is, but this is the method that works for me -- I've been making it several times a year (<1x/month, but at least 4-5 times a year) for about 20 years now, as my waistline can attest. As long as you get the ratios right, it just comes together. Early on when making sauce Bearnaise I had issues with separation and curdling using the methods in the cookbooks, so I played around with the recipe until it Just Worked for me.

Equipment wise I use a small enameled cast iron pan, so there's enough latent heat to turn the room-temperature butter molten while not enough to set the egg yolk, and I do beat the egg yolk in the pan first, and then work it into the butter/reduced vinegar mix that surrounds it until it is all incorporated. Also, this way I only mess up 1 pan and one whisk, which makes cleanup a lot easier than the usual method (double boiler, pan for reduction, strainer, whisk or blender, etc.)

It does require a bit of undivided attention, particularly if thickening it up after the emulsion forms, but I can knock it out from raw ingredients to finished sauce in about 15 minutes, with maybe ~2 minutes of close attention while whisking.
posted by Blackanvil at 8:50 AM on November 3, 2016


as a brunch waiter I came to despise cold, coagulating hollandaise...
posted by judson at 9:05 AM on November 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


as a brunch waiter I came to despise cold, coagulating hollandaise...

This would make an amazing NaNoWriMo writing prompt.
posted by hippybear at 9:38 AM on November 3, 2016 [2 favorites]


Thanks Blackanvil, I'll give that a go one day. Not that I particularly mind slowly pouring the butter, but it's always nice to learn new things about how the processes work.
posted by lucidium at 2:18 PM on November 3, 2016


judson: as a brunch waiter I came to despise cold, coagulating hollandaise...

... but as a homicide detective, I had come to appreciate it.

The story, it writes itself.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:18 PM on November 3, 2016 [6 favorites]


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