Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Béarnaise Sauce – Maybe My Favorite ‘Aise

I adore a good hollandaise, and couldn’t survive without mayonnaise, but if I had to pick an all-time favorite ’aise, it might just be béarnaise. This tarragon-spiked, shallot-infused hollandaise is absolutely perfect with any and all steaks or roasts; especially lean ones, like our recent salt-crust beef tenderloin.

A sauce made from 75% butter has some advantages, and elevating lean meat is just one of them. This is also excellent on potatoes, vegetables, as well as just about any seafood I can imagine. And as I mentioned in the video, this can be used to make quite the memorable eggs Benedict.

We’re using the same revolutionary technique here that we featured in our last hollandaise sauce video, with one small tweak. If you’re feeling lucky, try to create your hollandaise over medium heat, instead of low. That’s what I usually use, but I played it safe, and went with low heat in that recipe, even though using medium is much faster.

You’ll have to keep an eye on things, but you should get results similar to what you see in this video. By the way, just like when making regular hollandaise you can adjust the thickness by adding in a little hot water if necessary. So, whether you’re going to enjoy this with salt-crusted beef tenderloin, or something else just as special, I hope you give this béarnaise sauce a try soon. Enjoy!

For the reduction:
1 cup fresh tarragon leaves, roughly chopped
1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots
1 rounded teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup white wine
1/3 cup water

For the compound butter:
1/4 cup chopped tarragon
1 teaspoon drained capers
1 tablespoon cold butter

For the béarnaise:
2 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons tarragon vinegar reduction
8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 tablespoon caper tarragon compound butter
salt and cayenne pepper to taste
freshly ground black pepper, optional


Vladimir Nachbaur said...

Thanks Chef John!
Béarnaise is by far my favourite steak sauce.

Believe it or not, in the middle school I went to in France, the chef at the school restaurant used to make his own bearnaise when we had steak!
(So even though a lot of schools had worse food than mine, Michael Moore wasn't plain lying about French school food)

I tried cooking it a couple of times by reading recipes but always found it hard to get the right consistency. Your video makes it so much easier to grasp and look pretty fool-proof. Can't wait to surprise my dad with this ! He's also a huge fan of that sauce.

Ted B. said...

Can the reduction and the compound butter be premanufactured in-bulk and frozen portioned for use later. Then when needed make a fresh Hollandaise base and whisk in the thawed reduction and compound butter?
This would seem to be an ideal candidate for portioning and storing using an ice-cube tray and a ziplock bag in the back of the freezer until needed. ...And much faster. Four or six portions would be just as easy to pre-prepare ahead of time with bulk fresh tarragon when available. And that compound Tarragon Butter looks very-useful...

Unknown said...

Hi Chef John!
Big fan here! So, could you write what is the name of that herb you said that it wasn't necessary (to mix in the butter)? Please.
I am not a native English speaker so I couldn't get what you said.
And thanks for the videos!! I teally like them!!

Unknown said...

This looks delicious How long will this sauce keep if I want to make it in advance?

Unknown said...

Thanks Chef.

Daisy said...

This is my favorite sauce for veges! Looking forward to trying it on beef.

Kennapop3 said...

WMy mothers family owned a restaurant in West Hollywood Called The Clock, She made a great Bearnaise as well as a great hollandaise sauce.I will make some this Christmas Holiday.

Anonymous said...

Uh Jerry;

Raw eggs, butter, minimal heat, and sitting out at room temperature...

Let this be the very last this you make just before your guest(s) sit down. Do not hold for more than an hour.

Unknown said...

Chef, I like the recipe and procedure. The only question I have is the use capers.
I have not seen any other bearnaise recipes with capers. Care to comment on that? Please don't take me wrong. This is by no means a criticism. Just totally curious on your take with that ingredient. tha

mom of chef said...

Thank you Chef John! With these last two recipes you have designed my Holiday Dinner. Bearnaise has been my favorite sauce since forever.

inchrisin said...

I always feel bad asking, but did you use a dry or sweet white wine? Also, if you prefer to drink dry wine, should you just cook with dry wine, or do you try to match the style of wine to what you're cooking?

Ed the house chef said...

Thanks, as always it turned out great and you once again make me appear to be a much, much better cook, no make that a house chef, than I really am. Thank you Chef J.

Ann said...

JC XP, the herb he mentioned is chervil.

Unknown said...

-brilliant set of videos for the Bearnaise surf & turf trio. Can't wait ...but I will...lol

Unknown said...

Dear Chef John,
Your Béarnaise video just like all your other videos are fun and interactive. This would be the first time that I would've made your Béarnaise sauce. Can you tell me if this sauce would be a perfect match for sirloin steak and can you provide any tips on how to cook sirloin steak and make it that little bit extra special?

Thanks Chef John and keep up the good work.

Debbie Dennis said...

I made this for my Xmas dinner. I was a bit apprehensive adding all the butter at once but it turned out perfectly! It was delicious. I will never make Hollandaise or Bearnaise any other way again. Thank you Chef John. Happy and Healthy New Year to you and your family!

kgd said...

It worked beautiful. The perfect compliment to our prime rib roast. Thank you very much. Thanks to your videos, my wife says she'll keep me for a little while longer.

Whiteleather said...

Very reliable recipe. Imagine my shock to realize that ChefJ is right around the corner from my Geneva, NY home! I just had my kitchen rebuilt with his blog in mind. Yet he does not recommend that you all use Billsboro semi-dry riesling for this particular sauce.

I use either Billsboro or Konstantin Frank for my cooking. Why? Because if a recipe calls for 1/2C of wine....I have about 500ml of very good wine that needs to be drunk....I mean used...ahem.

Anyhow...making reduction and composite butter for a sauce to be used tonight for Valentine's Day. Might even put some on dinner beforehand.

Maggiesara said...

Made the béarnaise tonight, and I'll be darned, it worked like a charm. I'm a convert!

Anonymous said...

I did a little twist on this and it worked out great. I clarified the butter and then heated it to very hot in the microwave. I put the egg yolks, tarragon leaves, cayenne, some lemon juice and the reduction in a blender.
Spin it up on low to medium till aerated well. Then through the little hole in the top, slowly add the hot butter until eggs are tempered. Then turn the blender to high and add the remaining butter. You get a nice thick sauce hot and ready to serve. TASTE and season with salt and pepper as necessary.

Unknown said...

Thanks for a great recipe and video.

You said that Béarnaise sauce built on Hollandaise; so I was surprise that there was no Dijon style mustard added to the base sauce of eggs and butter.

Is there a reason for that? Would adding the mustard adversely affect
the Béarnaise sauce?

If one were to add mustard, how much would be appropriate?

Reserve4Todd said...

Quenton Ball- I made this recipe with and without Dijon. With Dijon (I used 1 teaspoon), it just becomes a bit thicker-- and of course adds the mustard flavors to the sauce.
I've used this technique with dried tarragon and dried shallots to make the reduction, and it worked beautifully (I used fresh tarragon for the compound butter).
I've also completely wrecked this by using a very salty butter (I know better, I grabbed the wrong package); so especially when using capers, make sure you're using unsalted butter.

beemo said...

I tried this out and the resulting goop was bitter and inedible. It turned out that the "fresh" tarragon we used was from a late-season plant gone far into senility. Lesson learned! Tarragon leaves must be harvested from plants which are YOUNG AND FRESH. (A month ago I made some tarragon aioli, and a few salads, from the same plant, and it was all wonderful.)

I also managed to ruin the 'foolproof' hollandaise, probably with a bit too much heat. This was not surprising to me; after several years now of trying dozens of 'foolproof' procedures for cooking traditionally difficult things, I now know that "foolproof! never fails!" is a kind of tongue-in-cheek way of saying, "You are going to f*** this up the first five or ten times you try it." It doesn't even make me angry any more.

On the plus side, the tarragon-shallot reduction worked out correctly to approximately 3 tablespoons. I am confident that when I do it again with FRESH tarragon, it will be very nice.

The tarragon and caper mash with butter in a marble mortar also worked as advertised (except for my poor selection of tarragon).

In the end, I still believe that these marvellous ingredients and methods MUST result in something extremely worthwhile once mastered, so I am willing to give it another few tries.

But for anyone reading this: The ability to CONSISTENTLY make proper bearnaise sauce is one of the things that separates amateurs from professonals. Realize once and for all that NOTHING about the complete bearnaise sauce recipe presented here is 'foolproof.' The chances of total failure for the first time (at least for the amateur home cook) are very high. The probability of failure with this kind of advanced cooking naturally diminishes with experience -- but only after a LOT of experience.

In other words, don't plan on impressing anyone with bearnaise sauce until you've succeeded, alone and unassisted, in making it perfectly five or six times in a row. Only this minimum amount of practice will suffice, I believe, for those without the benefit of expert instruction -- assuming one has all the proper equipment and ingredients, and knows how to work with them.

Anonymous said...

Hey beemo ..... sorry to hear about your grief in the kitchen.,,, try my blender twist. Just make sure the butter is very hot when you add it to the blender. Add the caper paragon at the end with seasonings to taste. This has always worked for me. A dribble of water will thin it down if you don't go for the richer thicker sauce. I happen to like it thick and decadent. Some blenders have too big a volume and the egg yolks may require rocking the blender a bit to get things rolling.

Tom Snyder said...

Dear John, please tell me the quantity of this recipe. I am making it today and serving it tomorrow for 10 folks for beef fondue.

Man thanks!

G B said...

it is stupid to give recipes by measuring with cups