Darcy tweeted the other day that she was going to be cooking up some Julia Childs' recipes and thus also learning some French.
Here is a tried and true recipe for la sauce hollandaise, or as we call it chez moi, œuf sauce, or butter still: lardendaise sauce. The recipe was taken from a book called Les Sauces, which is a compendium of nearly every sauce known to French cooking:
1 & 1/3 stick butter
3 egg yolks (throw the whites away or feed them to your dog)
2 Tbls water or dry white wine
1/4 tsp white pepper
ca. 2 Tbl lemon juice
Melt the butter in a pan then set aside (a microwave is fine too-just get it hot enough to melt).
Mix the egg yolks and the water or wine in a separate pan (I use a double boiler and this pan serves as a place to keep the sauce when finished). Whisk the yolks and the wine with one of those wire whips just until the yolks begin to thicken. This is why harsh direct heat should be avoided (they are worth having if you make lots of sauces). At this point, begin adding the melted butter little by little all while whisking. Add the lemon juice, pepper and a dash of salt according to taste.
If the sauce crashes (separates into oil and solids) remove from the heat immediately. It is sometimes possible to save the sauce by adding more white wine: the ethanol in the wine acts as an emulsifier, helping to mix the oil from the butter with the protein/water from the egg.
This recipe makes enough for 4 people on a diet. Scale accordingly.