This rich yet airy sauce is the basis for several other warm emulsions; the best-known variation is bearnaise, which includes the addition of tarragon. This recipe is adapted from the "Martha Stewart's Cooking School" cookbook.



Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Fill a medium saucepan with 2 inches water and bring to a boil, then reduce heat so water is barely simmering.

  • Off the heat, whisk egg yolks in a heatproof bowl or on top of a double boiler until they become pale. Place over the simmering water. Whisking constantly, cook until the mixture is thick enough to hold a trail from the whisk and begins to hold its shape when drizzled from the whisk, about 3 minutes.

  • Whisking constantly, add butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking until each addition is incorporated completely before adding the next. When all the butter has been added, season with lemon juice, salt, cayenne, and black pepper. The sauce should be thick but still able to drizzle from a spoon (and it should form a pool, not a mound). If it is too thick, thin it with a little water.

  • The sauce is best if used immediately but can sit for about an hour over hot water in a bain-marie or in a Thermos.

Reviews (2)

42 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 10
  • 4 star values: 9
  • 3 star values: 9
  • 2 star values: 11
  • 1 star values: 3
Rating: 5 stars
Saw the video on PBS, and made it today for Easter! Easy and awesome over the asparagus!
Rating: Unrated
We tried another chefs version of this last year and it separated and he had no suggestions listed for fixing it. So we found your version and tried it this year, using a glass bowl over the simmering water as you suggested. It worked like a dream! So simple. We skipped the cayenne pepper(too spicy for us) and we ended up needing about 3 and a half teaspoons of lemon juice for the right taste in ours. I will be using your version from now on, thanks!