Saturday, December 1, 2012

Sauce Hollandaise. The Mother of All Sauces.

A mother sauce is a sauce that is used as a base for the creation of other sauces.
These new sauces are her children.
from
Behind the French Menu 
by
Bryan Newman
   
       
A Bowl of Sauce Hollandaise.
Photograph courtesy of Michael W. May

Sauce Hollandaise

    Sauce Hollandaise – Hollandaise sauce will be on many menus 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
     
    The recipe for Sauce Hollandaise calls for egg yolks, melted butter, lemon juice, salt and pepper and it is one of the five mother sauces in French cuisine. A mother sauce means that the sauce’s basic recipe may be used to create other sauces, those sauces will then become her children. 

 

Cold salmon served with a dill flavored Sauce Hollandaise
Photograph courtesy of Renée Suen.


On French menus with dishes that include Sauce Hollandaise you may find:

Les Belles Asperges Blanches Juste Cuites Parfumées au Citron et Accompagnées de la Classique Sauce HollandaiseBeautiful white asparagus, just cooked, scented with lemon, and served with the classic Hollandaise sauce.


   White asparagus with Sauce Hollandaise   
Photograph courtesy of  Hamburger helper
    
Hollandaise sauce is my favorite sauce to accompany warm, fresh, white, or green asparagus. For more about asparagus in France see the post: French Asparagus, Green and White.


Tronçon de Turbot Label Rouge Poché Sauce Hollandaise ou Grillé Sauce Béarnaise.  A wide cut of 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. 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.
Photograph courtesy of sea turtle.
         
  Filets de Porc Grillée aux Champignons avec Legumes, Sauce Hollandaise et Croquettes – Grilled fillets of pork and mushrooms served with vegetables and accompanied by Sauce Hollandaise and croquet potatoes.
      
   Dos de Merlu à l'Unilatéral, Sauce HollandaiseA thick cut of whiting, the fish, cooked à l’unilatéra, on the skin side only, and  here it 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 Béarnaise
       
  Among the many sauces developed from Sauce Hollandaise it is Sauce Béarnaise that really stands out.  This child of Sauce Hollandaise has presented its mother sauce with many many grandchildren.
    
 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 begat Sauce Béarnaise as a child of Sauce Hollandaise; he is also remembered, by some, as the chef who, in 1837,  created soufflé potatoes. The story of soufflé potatoes will need a separate post.

                                        
   
An entrecote steak with Sauce Béarnaise on the side. 
Photograph by courtesy of  cweesy.

 Sauce Béarnaise is Sauce Hollandaise with the lemon omitted; the lemon is replaced by white wine vinegar, shallots, chervil and tarragon. 
   
Sauce Foyot or Sauce Valois.
  Another chef whose name I cannot find took Sauce Béarnaise and begat Sauce Foyot, also called Sauce Valois. Sauce 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 begat Sauce Choron. Sauce Choron is Sauce Béarnaise with added tomatoes.
   
  
    
    Sauce Palois.
  
 Then yet another chef whose name I cannot find took Sauce Béarnaise and begat 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.

    The begetting goes on and on!
And the question remains, who created Sauce Hollandaise?
The answer may lie in the book noted below:
   
by
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, does appear in a 17th century French cookbook: Le Vrai Cuisinier François, The Real French Chef.

The front page of the original edition  of:
 Le Vrai Cuisinier François.
Photograph courtesy of the  Biblotech National de France.

Go on-line to the Biblotech National de France, http://gallica.bnf.fr and there in Le Vrai Cuisinier François,  by François Pierre de La Varenne, on page 117 you may read, as I did, the recipe for Asperges à la Sauce Blanche, asparagus with a white sauce.  You may also download the whole book as an e-book, without payment, by keeping to a few simple rules.