Clay's Kitchen : Sauce and Stock Recipes

Sauce and Stock Recipes

© Copyright 1995-2017, Clay Irving <clay@panix.com>, Manhattan Beach, CA USA

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Béarnaise Sauce

Béarnaise sauce, named for the southwestern French region of Béarn, home of the beloved monarch and gourmet, Henri IV, is similar to Hollandaise sauce but gets a special flavor from a reduction of white wine, vinegar and tarragon.

3 tablespoons dry white wine
3 tablespoons tarragon vinegar or white wine vinegar
1 shallot minced
6 sprigs fresh tarragon, leaves removed, chopped, and reserved — Some chervil or parsley may also be used with the tarragon leaves
8 black peppercorns, lightly crushed
3 large egg yolks
1 ½ teaspoon cold water
½ cup warm — not hot — clarified butter
salt and ground white pepper, to taste

Combine white wine, vinegar, shallot, tarragon and peppercorns in a small saucepan over medium heat and simmer, uncovered, until reduced by two-thirds. Remove the tarragon sprigs from the reduction and reserve the liquid.

Place on top of a double broiler or in a large stainless steel bowl set up as a double boiler — the bottom of the top of the double boiler should not make contact with the water heating in the bottom half of the double boiler.

Off the heat, whisk the egg yolks and cold water mixture until it becomes light and frothy. Place the top of the double broiler or the bowl over barely simmering water and continue to whisk until the eggs are thickened, about 2 to 4 minutes, being careful not to let the eggs get too hot. Remove the pan or bowl from over the water and whisk to slightly cool the mixture. Whisking constantly, very slowly add the warm clarified butter.

Stir in the reserved tarragon leaves and the reduced liquid, to taste, along with salt and pepper. If the sauce is too thick, thin it slowly with a few drops of the reserved vinegar-wine reduction or warm water. Serve immediately or keep the sauce covered to prevent a skin from forming. Serve warm.

Other sauces derived from Béarnaise Sauce

Sauce CharonAdd tomato paste
Sauce ColbertSauce Foyot with addition of reduced white wine
Sauce FoyotAdd meat glaze
Sauce PaloiseSubstitute fresh mint for the tarragon


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