Hollandaise Sauce (Classical Method)
  1. In a small saucepan, combine peppercorns, vinegar and shallots. Reduce until liquid is almost gone; deglaze pan with water. Mix this with the egg yolks in a double boiler insert or stainless steel bowl.
  2. Melt butter and hold on low heat. Whip egg yolk mixture over simmering water with a whisk until yolks thicken and increase in volume. When you can fold the sauce with the whisk, and leave a trail in it, it's ready. Add the melted butter about a tablespoon at a time, whisking all the while. Don't delay too much after each addition.
  3. When you've added a third of the butter, whisk steadily and pour in the rest in a thin stream. Quickly whisk in the lemon juice, salt and red pepper.
Troubleshooting
  1. If sauce curdles (turns to a scrambled-egg like mixture), it got too hot. Remove instantly from heat and, if possible, set in some ice. In a clean bowl, add a little ice water. Whisk in a tiny bit of the curdled sauce until smooth. Add the remaining sauce in small increments, whisking smooth after each time. About midway hrough the process return to the heat and finish adding curded sauce. If there is more butter to add, whisk it in as decribed above.
  2. If sauce seperates (oil and egg being distinct) it's because it got too cold. Remove from heat. In a fresh bowl whisk an egg yolk and a couple teaspoons of water over the boiling water and add the seperated sauce a little at a time. Whisk in the remaining sauce in small increments.