Almost Healthy Hollandaise Sauce


Does the thought of making traditional Julia-Child-style Hollandaise sauce make you shudder? Do you fear ending up with a scramble of egg and butter, or a lumpy mess?

The instructions from the classic Mastering the Art of French Cooking would have a person whisking melted butter and more butter and butter-butter-butter drop by drop into warmed egg yolks until the emulsion can’t hold one more drop.

Forget the tradition. This fool-proof and (somewhat) more healthful variation uses a whole egg, and replaces half the butter with olive oil.

The egg white in this recipe helps the sauce be more stable than the fragile emulsion of only egg yolk and butter-butter-butter. The truly timid can add a quarter teaspoon of cornstarch to the egg, along with the salt and lemon juice.

(Those marked * are available at the Saratoga Springs Farmers’ Market. Makes 2 to 4 servings.)

1 whole egg *

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp. unsalted butter, plus 1 extra tsp.

¼ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. cornstarch (optional)

1 tsp. lemon juice, or more to taste,

Zest of half a lemon (optional)


Variations to the finished sauce:

(1)  Add a teaspoon of your favorite herbs*, minced.

(2)  Add a tablespoon of salted capers, rinsed of all salt, and coarsely chopped. Excellent with Pura Vida fish fillets*.

(3)  Fold in a quarter cup of whipped Battenkill Valley Creamery * heavy cream for sauce mousseline.

(4)  Add grated or zested orange rind and a tablespoon of orange juice.



Have in reserve a large bowl of cold water, to rescue the sauce if necessary. See below.

Beat the egg, salt, lemon juice, and optional lemon zest and optional corn starch, thoroughly in a shallow bowl with a whisk. Add the teaspoon of cold butter, but don’t mix.


A version of this recipe article appears in this week’s Saratoga Today.