Bearnaise sauce is one of the classics of French cuisine and in our opinion is the perfect accompaniment to a nice piece of meat from the barbecue or with a tasty fish dish, for example with a tomahawk or tenderloin.
Béarnaise sauce recipes:
- Grilled tomahawk with béarnaise sauce and little gem
- Tenderloin with Provencal herbs and béarnaise sauce
It is often thought that béarnaise sauce is nothing more than hollandaise sauce with finely chopped tarragon. That is absolutely not true according to classic French cuisine. The basics are totally different in detail.
What are the basics then? A homemade gastrique with, among other things, tarragon vinegar, while a hollandaise is made with white wine vinegar. Yes, the French love the details.
Gastrique can be compared as a broth, but made from white wine, vinegar and seasonings. Another important part of the sauce is the clarified butter.
To create this, butter is melted gently to separate the fat from the protein components. You thereby have a perfectly clear butter. It is ideal for baking without splashing, but also for finishing your béarnaise sauce.
For the gastrique
- 3 dl white wine
- 2 dl tarragon vinegar
- 2 shallots cut into rings
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 6 sprigs tarragon
For the sauce
- 4 egg yolks
- 250 gr butter
- 4 sprigs tarragon
- 4 sprigs chervil
- black pepper freshly grounded
- Place all the ingredients for the gastrique in a saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer until over half of the liquid has evaporated. Strain the liquid and keep aside. You can also make a larger batch and freeze it in ice cube trays or store it in a clean bottle so you always have a fresh supply of gastrique.
- For the sauce, carefully heat the butter in a saucepan until it is completely melted, but certainly not discoloured. Meanwhile, carefully skim off the foam with a spoon until the fat has become completely clear. You will see some solid white sediment at the bottom of the pan. Therefore, very carefully pour the “oil” into a bowl or pan and make sure that the sediment remains in the pan. Now you have perfectly clarified butter.
- Heat a pan with water that fits a bowl exactly and bring the water to a boil.
- In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks well with the (lukewarm) gastrique. Place the bowl on top of the pan of boiling water and continue to whisk the mass continuously. You can perfectly do this with a whisk, but of course you can also do it with a hand mixer.
- Keep whisking the mass until the bubbles get smaller and smaller and it has become a nicely bound “sabayon” that sticks to the back of a spatula when you dip it into the sauce. The sauce is now warm, but should not be boiling hot, because if so the egg will coagulate. Remove the bowl from the water and whisk for a few more minutes.
- Now add the clarified butter drop by drop while stirring with a whisk and only add new butter when the previous has been absorbed. Continue until all the butter is incorporated.
- Finely chop the chervil and tarragon leaves. Add to the sauce and season with freshly ground pepper and fleur de sel. If you want to add a little more spice to it, add a pinch of cayenne pepper.