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The classic, creamy, egg-based concoction known as Hollandaise sauce is flavored with butter and a bit of lemon. Hollandaise means Holland-style or “coming from Holland” but like many rich and butter-laden sauces, it is entirely a French creation. In the 19th century it was called Sauce Isigny, after a town in Normandy famed for its creamy, golden butter to this day. During WWI, butter production ground to a halt in France. The butter needed to be imported from Holland, and the new name stuck. Okay, history lesson over, onto the cooking.

Hollandaise is a traditional topper for poached eggs, vegetables—especially asparagus—and fish. It’s a key part of the brunch staples Eggs Benedict and Eggs Florentine. Like most sauces that came from French kitchens, this can be a little intimidating, but follow our best basic Hollandaise sauce and you will get perfection every time.