When the chef at La Pointe du Grouin told me that there was “rien de plus simple” (“nothing simpler!”) than making a hollandaise sauce, I had my doubts. I knew for a fact that there were simpler things to do than making a hollandaise—like not making one, for example. But I was up to the challenge and am happy to say I only curdled a few eggs in the process of making my first hollandaise. Separating the fat from the butter (a process called clarifying) and making sure that the egg yolks never get too hot is key to this recipe, which makes up in delicious what it lacks in simplicity.
Bring a large pot of water to boil. In a small saucepan, melt butter on low heat. As butter melts, the fat will rise to the top. Once totally melted, remove butter from heat and use a spoon to clarify the butter by skimming off the top layer of fat (some will fall to the bottom of the saucepan, but that’s okay—remove as much as possible). In a medium pot, whisk together eggs yolks, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt. Rotate whisking the egg yolk mixture over your steaming pot of boiling water and away from heat. It is important that the egg yolks don’t get too hot, or else they will curdle. The bottom of the pot should never be hot to the touch. Whisk until the egg yolks are firm and thick. Slowly drizzle melted butter into the egg yolk emulsion, constantly whisking and alternating between heat and no heat. Combine all the melted butter and continue to whisk until the sauce is creamy and pale yellow. If sauce thickens, whisk in a small amount of lemon juice. The sauce should be served as quickly as possible, as it will begin to thicken as it cools.
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