Hollandaise is one of the five French master sauces, and it is really satisfying to make (and eat!) Keep practicing and you’ll be able to whip this up in less than 10 minutes-your eggs and vegetables will thank you.
Set up a double boiler, or use a small saucepan with a bowl that covers the top of the pot. While the water is heating in the base, melt the butter in a small measuring cup, and separate the egg yolks into the top of the double boiler (off heat.) Whisk vigorously off heat until the yolks double in volume and thicken, like an egg cooked over-medium. This takes a minute or two, and can take longer if your whisking skills are rusty or nonexistent. Be patient and keep at it-the change is gradual, not dramatic.
Once the egg yolks are well beaten, place them over the gently simmering water, whisking the whole time. This is the tricky part about hollandaise, because the eggs will scramble if you don’t keep them moving constantly. A few drops at a time, rapidly whisk in melted butter until the mixture doubles in volume again and the sauce is very thick-it should be a little thicker than you want, since the lemon juice will thin it out a little. Saucy Note: If at any time the egg mixture seems like its getting too hot and starting to scramble, keep whisking and lift the top section off the simmering water. Let the vessel cool slightly and turn the heat down a skosh before continuing with the butter.
Remove the hollandaise from heat when the mixture has doubled. Whisk in the lemon juice and salt to taste and put someplace warm-I like the inside of the microwave, because the small space is enough to keep some heat in the sauce being too hot. If the sauce is too thick when you go to serve it, a few drops of warm water will fix it. Stir before serving.