saffron and shallot hollandaise


When I was in elementary school, my parents were gifted with a crumpet of the month subscription (which was awesome). One month they were sent powdered Hollandaise sauce that came in a container similar to a Kraft Parmesan cheese shaker. It said to add water to create the sauce, but lacked any other directions. Needless to say, it was not the best. Making your own Hollandaise sauce is not very hard, but it can be a bit finicky. I’ve seen recipes that use a blender, but I prefer to do it the old fashioned way – with a double-boiler and a whisk.


I ended up making this sauce for dinner and served it over salmon. The vinegar is lightly infused with saffron, shallots, and peppercorn. The vinegar is then used to make the sauce, which resulted in a lightly flavored sauce. It paired well with the cooked salmon, but it would also be delicious on a smoked salmon eggs benedict.

Saffron and Shallot Hollandaise

via Allyson Gofton


  • 1/2 shallot, peeled and finely diced
  • 4 peppercorns
  • 6-8 saffron threads
  • 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 175 grams unsalted butter // Because it is a finicky sauce, it is important to weigh out your butter, but if you can’t it is about 12.5 tbsp of butter
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 lemon
  • salt & white pepper
  • Equipment: double boiler, whisk


  1. Put the shallot, peppercorns, saffron, vinegar, and water into a small sauce pan. Simmer over low heat until reduced to 2 tbsp of liquid. Use a small mesh strainer to strain out the solids. Set aside liquid.
  2. Melt butter, and keep warm in a small container that is easy to pour from.
  3. Set up a double boiler using a medium pot with about 1 inch of water in it and a well fitting heatproof bowl (glass or metal). Don’t turn on the water just yet.
  4. Remove the bowl and whisk together the egg yolks and vinegar. Turn on the heat and bring the water to a simmer.
  5. Place the bowl back onto your pot. Gradually pour in your melted butter while whisking well. Continuing whisking until it becomes a thick sauce. When it is done, you should be able to dip a spoon into the sauce and have the back fully coated, then be able to use your finger to draw a line along the back.
  6. Season with salt, white pepper, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Serve immediately.