Saturday, December 1, 2012

Sauce Hollandaise. The Mother of All Sauces.

Behind the French Menu
Bryan G. Newman
Updated July 2019

Sauce Hollandaise and asparagus.

Sauce Hollandaise
A mother sauce is a sauce that is used as a base for the creation of other sauces.
Those new sauces are her children.

Sauce Hollandaise is a sauce like no other, its origins go back at least four-hundred years, but it is still the sauce of choice for tens of dishes in Western cuisine. A mother sauce means that the sauce’s recipe will be used to create other sauces, those sauces then become her children. Mother sauces with Sauce Hollandaise include were first clearly defined by the Chef Antonin Carême in the early 1800s.

Sauce Hollandaise will be served either alongside or as part of many dishes that include vegetables, fish and egg dishes both hot and cold The recipe for Sauce Hollandaise is simple, it calls for egg yolks, melted butter, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

(BTW Sauce Hollandaise has nothing to do with Holland. In the early stages of French Haute Cuisine countries in the 1800s were being named any real connection was rarely required and that includes Sauce Español, nothing to do with Spain and Sauce Allemande, nothing to do with Germany).
Smoked salmon with rocket and Sauce Hollandaise

Sauce Hollandaise on French Menus:

Les Belles Asperges Blanches Juste Cuites Parfumées au Citron et Accompagnées de la Classique Sauce Hollandaise – Beautiful white asparagus, just lightly cooked, scented with lemon, and served with the classic Hollandaise sauce. (Asparagus, should be like the best pasta, al dente: in French perfectly cooked is à point).
Lobster and pancetta over English muffin
topped with eggs and Sauce Hollandaise.
Hollandaise sauce is my favorite sauce to accompany warm, fresh, white, or green asparagus. For more about asparagus in France see the post: Asperges en La Cuisine Française – Asparagus in French cuisine.
Tronçon de Turbot Label Rouge Poché Sauce Hollandaise ou Grillé Sauce Béarnaise.  A wide cut of farm-raised, Label Rouge turbot, the fish, served either poached with a Sauce Hollandaise or grilled and served with a Sauce Béarnaise.

The Label Rouge, the red label of quality.

The Label Rouge, the red label, is a trusted, respected, and well controlled French government label of quality; the label may be awarded to all natural and manufactured food products with the exception of wine which has its labeling regulation. The red label turbot offered above comes from a French sea-farm; fish-farms that wish to apply for the label rouge are continuously checked for their farming methods. Those controls include the fish’s sanitary conditions; the food fed to the fish, and very importantly, the density of the fish in their cages. Of equal importance are the controls that prevent these fish from having any antibiotics and or hormones in their food or environment.
Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon and spinach

Filets de Porc Grillée aux Champignons avec Legumes, Sauce Hollandaise et Croquettes – Grilled fillets of pork and button mushrooms served with vegetables and accompanied by Sauce Hollandaise and croquet potatoes.

Smoked Haddock with Sauce Hollandaise.
Dos de Merlu à l' Unilatéral, Sauce Hollandaise – A thick cut of hake, the fish, cooked à l'unilatéral, on the skin side only, and served with Sauce Hollandaise.    

 N. B. Cooking fish à l'unilatéral is considered the best way to cook thick filets of fish. Cooking slowly and only through the skin side of the fish allows the fish to cook through evenly;  this method eliminates much of the tastes of the cooking oil as would cooking the fish on the open side of the filet.

Sauce Bearnaise, the child of Hollandaise.

Among the many sauces developed from Sauce Hollandaise it is Sauce Béarnaise that really stands out.  This child of Sauce Hollandaise has itself become a mother sauce with many many grandchildren.
Steak Frites with  Sauce Bearnaise.

Unlike Sauce Hollandaise where its creator is disputed Sauce Béarnaise is accepted as the creation of the chef and restaurateur Jean Louis Françoise Collinet.  Collinet created Sauce Béarnaise as a child of Sauce Hollandaise; Sauce Béarnaise is Sauce Hollandaise with the lemon replaced by white wine vinegar, shallots, chervil and tarragon. Collinet is also remembered, by some, as the chef who, in 1837,  created soufflé potatoes. The story of soufflé potatoes will be left for another day,
Sauce Foyot, also called Sauce Valois.

A sauce whose whose creator I cannot find took Sauce Béarnaise and created Sauce Foyot, also called Sauce ValoisSauce Foyot  is Sauce Béarnaise with the addition of the glazed cooking juices of  roasted meat.

Sauce Choron.
The chef Alexandre Étienne Choron (1837 - 1924), took Sauce Béarnaise and created Sauce Choron. Sauce Choron is Sauce Béarnaise with added tomatoes.
European sea bass cooked “en croute”, in a pastry cover,
and served with Sauce Choron
Sauce Palois.
Then, yet another chef whose name I cannot find took Sauce Béarnaise and created Sauce Palois.  Sauce Palois is Sauce Béarnaise with the tarragon replaced with mint; that makes Sauce Palois a very popular sauce to serve with lamb.

And the question remains, who created Sauce Hollandaise?
The answer may lie in the book noted below:
Le Vrai Cuisinier François, 
The Real French Chef.
François Pierre de La Varenne (1618 - 1678)
The creator of Sauce Hollandaise is disputed but a recipe for a very similar sauce using vinegar, rather than lemon juice, does appear in this 17th century French cookbook: Le Vrai Cuisinier François.
The front page of the original edition
Photograph courtesy of the  Biblotech National de France.

Go on-line to the Biblotech National de France, and there in Le Vrai Cuisinier François,  by François Pierre de La Varenne, published in 1654
on pages 254 and 255 you may read, as I did, the recipe for Asperges à la Sauce Blanche, asparagus with a white sauce.  

You may download the whole book in PDF  without payment, by keeping to a few simple rules. 


Bryan G. Newman
Behind the French Menu
Copyright 2010, 2012, 2016, 2019.

For information on the unpublished book behind this blog write to Bryan Newman


Searching for the meaning of words, names or phrases
French menus?

Just add the word, words, or phrase that you are searching for to the words "Behind the French Menu" (best when including the inverted commas), and search with Google or Bing,  Behind the French Menu’s links, include hundreds of words, names, and phrases that are seen on French menus. There are over 450 articles that include over 4,000 French dishes with English translations and explanations.


Connected Posts:






1 comment:

  1. Wonderful article on hollandaise sauce.