Saffron-Red Pepper Hollandaise

  • Yield: 1 cups


1/2cup unsalted butter
2ounces roasted red peppers
2tablespoons fruity extra-virgin olive oil
2tablespoons fresh orange juice, plus more if needed
1tablespoon water
Kosher salt
Large pinch of saffron threads (about 15 threads)
1/2teaspoon lightly packed finely grated orange zest
1/8teaspoon hot-pepper sauce such as Sriracha


  1. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Don’t stir as it melts. You want the milky solids to fall to the bottom and the butterfat to float to the top. Keep warm.
  2. In a food processor, combine the red peppers and olive oil and process until a smooth purée forms. You want to emulsify the oil with the peppers; the mixture should look creamy and combined.
  3. Pour water to a depth of 1 to 2 inch into a medium saucepan and place over medium heat. Rest a medium stainless-steel bowl in the pan over (not touching) the water. Put the orange juice, water, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and saffron into the bowl and let sit over the heat for a few minute so the saffron infuses the liquid. When you can smell the saffron, add the egg yolks and start whisking. As the bowl heats up, the yolks will begin to thicken. Whisk vigorously, scraping around the bowl with a heat-resistant rubber spatula from time to time so that bits of yolk don’t get stuck and overcook. Beat until thick and frothy but not quite fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. The whisk will start leaving a clear space on the bottom of the bowl. Remove the bowl from the heat and whisk for another 30 seconds or so to stabilize the sauce and let the bowl cool down.
  4. Continue whisking as you slowly drizzle in the warm melted butter, taking care not to add too much of the milky-watery layer from the bottom of the pan. As you pour and whisk, make sure the yolks are accepting the butter and the yolks and butter are emulsifying. If the sauce looks at all broken or “curdly,” stop adding butter and just whisk for a few seconds. Only resume adding butter once you’ve whisked the sauce into creaminess again.
  5. Once all of the butter has been added, whisk in the pepper purée, the orange zest, and hot-pepper sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt, hot-pepper sauce, and orange juice if needed. If possible, serve right away.

Reprinted with permission from Martha Holmberg’s Modern Sauces (Chronicle Books LLC, 2012)