Béarnaise is a classic French sauce

It’s a rich emulsion of butter and egg yolks, flavored with tarragon, shallots, black peppercorns, with vinegar and white wine.

This luxurious sauce has a history as rich as its flavor is an absolute-can-do sauce on a weeknight.

 

The Origins of Béarnaise

Béarnaise sauce is believed to have originated in the Bearn region of France, hence its name. It was created in the 19th century and is often attributed to Chef Jean-Louis Françoise-Collinet, who supposedly invented it accidentally while trying to make a different sauce.

I say, “What a happy accident!”

 

Perfect Béarnaise Sauce Pairings

Traditionally, Béarnaise is served with steak, particularly a tender filet mignon, highlighting the sauce’s creamy texture and robust flavors.

Don’t stop there though.

Béarnaise pairs beautifully with roasted chicken, roasted or grilled fish, lamb chops, crab cakes, omelettes, and all kinds of vegetables including asparagus.

 

Three Tips for Making the Perfect Béarnaise Sauce

Béarnaise is an emulsified sauce, a daughter-sauce to Hollandaise, and made in a similar way.

An emulsion is simply bringing at least two ingredients together permanently that wouldn’t ordinarily mix.

It can be tricky, but with a few simple techniques you can easily master this beautiful sauce and kick your evening meal up a notch.

1. Maintain a Stable Emulsion. The sauce requires a stable emulsion of egg yolks and butter. If the butter is added too quickly, or if the mixture is too hot or too cold, the emulsion can break. Add the butter in a slow steady stream until the sauce holds together.

2. Control the Heat. Heat your egg yolks gently. Too much heat can cause them to scramble, while insufficient heat won’t allow the sauce to thicken. This is typically managed by cooking the sauce over a double boiler, which provides gentle, indirect heat. Don’t hesitate to remove your bowl from the heat if things get too hot; and place it back over the heat source when needed.

3. Whisk Continuously. Consistent and vigorous whisking is essential to prevent the eggs from overheating and to incorporate the butter into the egg yolks. This can be physically demanding and requires patience and attention. But the reward is so worth it.

Béarnaise sauce remains a testament to the elegance of French cuisine. Whether drizzled over a juicy steak or enhancing a simple vegetable dish, it brings a touch of gourmet to any meal.

Enjoy exploring the world of Béarnaise.

And may your culinary endeavors be as rich and flavorful as this timeless French classic.

Give it a try today!

Want to learn how to roast asparagus? Check out this recipe: Roasted Asparagus.

 

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Life At The Table | Bêarnaise Sauce. A white plate with roasted asparagus ladled with bêarnaise sauce sitting on a wooden table with a green napkin with a black napkin ring beside it.

Béarnaise Sauce

  • Author: Life At The Table

Description

By mastering a few simple techniques you can easily add a Béarnaise sauce to your weeknight meals to lather over vegetables or a steak.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons tarragon, chopped, divided
  • 1 tablespoon shallot, minced
  • 6 black peppercorns, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon white wine
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

Instructions

  1. Combine vinegar, tarragon, shallot, and crushed peppercorns in small saucepan.
  2. Heat over medium heat until the vinegar reduces by half.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the white wine, water, and salt.
  4. Strain in the reduced vinegar liquid through a fine mesh strainer.
  5. Whisk the egg yolks into the mixture.
  6. Place egg yolk mixture over a double boiler.
  7. Whisk the yolk mixture constantly as the mixture heats until the mixture has doubled in size and forms ribbons. (Be careful not to scramble the eggs.)
  8. Whisk a drop or two at at time of the melted butter into the egg mixture. Once the emulsion starts to hold, you can whisk in the rest of the butter in a steady stream.
  9. Serve immediately.

Notes

  • The ribbon stage is achieved when you can lift your whisk from the mixture and as it falls back into the bowl, the mixture looks like a ribbon.
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