Saturday, January 3, 2009

A Butterless Bearnaise Sauce Recipe - Impossible and Delicious

I had some leftover prime rib sizzling on the grill, and was trying to think of which condiment to serve with it. The "jus" was long gone, and none of the other usual suspects - aioli, ketchup, secret sauce - were moving me. What I really wanted was a nice dollop of béarnaise.

Béarnaise is a classic French sauce made with egg yolks, shallots, tarragon, a vinegar reduction, and lots of melted butter emulsified into it. Made correctly it is heaven in sauce form. The pr
oblem is you don't make béarnaise for one, and while I wanted the flavor of béarnaise, I didn't necessarily want a heavy butter-laden lunch.

So, I decided to make it without butter. There is no reason this should have been edible, but I was surprised at how good it turned out. I've used the "sabayon" technique before, which is simply whisking a liquid with egg yolks over heat until hot and frothy.

I skipped the shallots since I was about fives away from sauce-less beef, and got to work. My secret weapon was tangy, acidic tarragon Dijon. One of my favorite ingredients, it work like a charm. Several whisk-filled moments later I was enjoying a passable butterless version of béarnaise.

Disclaimer: There is no substitute for butter (if you said, "What about margarine?" then we really need to talk). If you dip into this expecting to taste classic buttery béarnaise you may be in for a slight letdown. Regardless, it was a delicious, light, and very béarnaise-esqe sauce for my meat. Enjoy!



Ingredients:
2 egg yolks
2 tsp tarragon mustard
salt and cracked black pepper to taste
1 tsp white wine vinegar


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13 comments:

Anonymous said...

WOW I love bearnaise and this looks like all the flavor without the butter! Thank You Chef!

Zach said...

pretty amazing - thanks!

Since I know a lot of people who have high cholesterol, I was wondering whether if you can do that without butter AND any eggs?

THAT would be great!

Chef John said...

sure, then I'll turn some rocks into gold and we'll all do a gig. ;-)

Anonymous said...

I'm more amazed that there was any prime rib that was leftover from the other recipe.

Jairus said...

what would this be if i just used regular dijon instead and would regular white vinegar work?

Anonymous said...

... a jig. Just like your dance video.

Chef John said...

should be ok, as long as you use some fresh tarragon.

Anonymous said...

I think you should talk to my grandmother. She thinks margarine, shortening, and lard are butter.

Skydriver said...

I am falling in love wit this web... thank you so so so much...

Healthy and Homemade said...

Great idea, I've seen this and Hollandaise made without the butter for a healthier and easier spin on the sauce! Maybe I'll make this for me and my husbands steaks tomorrow =)

. . . or maybe I'll just use butter . . .

Jeff said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Thx for the recipe!
I tried it and it came out very good.

HOWEVER...I think you should show us how to make a regular béarnaise with butter as I'm so envious of the restaurant chefs who know how to do it!

Keep it up, bro!
Ron

Anonymous said...

What about margarine? LOL.