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a base for so many others

Hollandaise sauce as part of Eggs Benedict with bacon, sprinkled with paprika

The French like to name sauces after places or people, but it’s debatable whether Holland had a lot to do with this famous topping for asparagus or that New York City classic, eggs Benedict.

The recipe for hollandaise (‘a fragrant sauce’) first appeared in writing in 1651 in French in La Varenne’s classic Le Cuisinier François. A version in Dutch appeared a few years later, which may be why Holland gets the credit.

In the basic recipe, beaten yolks are combined with butter, lemon juice, salt, and water, then heated at a low temperature while stirring, taking care that the egg emulsifies the sauce and doesn’t curdle.

While hollandaise is often considered one of the five ‘mother sauces’ of French cuisine, in most lists it’s actually the sixth, with numerous ‘daughter’ sauces that start with a basic hollandaise include béarnaise and...

sauce bavaroise: hollandaise with cream, horseradish, and thyme

sauce crème fleurette: with crème fraîche

sauce Dijon, sauce moutarde or sauce Girondine: with Dijon mustard

sauce maltaise: with orange zest and blood orange juice

sauce mousseline or sauce chantilly: with whipped cream

sauce au vin blanc: with white wine and fish stock

Sauces and condiments

Text © Dana Facaros

Image by Mark Miller