Hollandaise and Bearnaise sauces are, I believe, a couple of the major reasons why many people dine out.
They feel that these beautiful rich French sauces, the Bearnaise sauce in particular, are too difficult to make at home. All that clarifying, whisking, reducing and incorporating seem worthy of a professional chef only. But don’t let these words scare you.
Like all things cooking, it’s all about practice and once you’ve done it a few times you’ll wonder why you never tried it earlier. So go on, get to it – let’s prepare a delicious Bearnaise sauce – it’s fun and easy!
Enjoy this classic Bearnaise sauce recipe!
- 400 grams butter unsalted
- 4 Egg Yolks
- 1 tablespoon tarragon chopped fresh
- 1 tablespoon thyme chopped fresh
- white pepper ground
- Start making the reduction by adding the thyme, tarragon, bay leaf and vinegar to a small saucepan and place over medium flame and reduce by half, strain off the solids and discard, allow the liquid to cool slightly.
- Fill a medium sized saucepan approx 1/3 full with water and put on to boil.
- Place the butter in a clear microwave safe dish and microwave on high for approximately 5 minutes, (until the butter has separated).
- Pour the clarified butter off the top into another container and discard the white liquid left at the bottom.
- Reheat the clarified butter a further 2 minutes and skim any impurities off the surface.
- In a large stainless steel mixing bowl place the egg yolks with a few drops of water and whisk together and then whisk in 2 tbsp of the vinegar reduction (or tarragon vinegar if you’re cheating).
- Place the bowl over the saucepan of boiling water and whisk until the egg yolks have thickened and become lighter in colour.
- Remove the bowl from the pan and place it on a folded slightly wet towel.
- Gradually add the still warm clarified butter in a steady stream whilst whisking the eggs.
- Keep adding the butter as long as the eggs will hold it, (if the sauce gets a slightly shiny oily appearance, hold off with adding the butter and continue to whisk until the oily appearance has disappeared).
- Once all the butter has been incorporated add the chopped thyme and tarragon, (if the sauce appears too thick whisk in 1 tbsp of tepid water).
- Season to taste and serve (the sauce can be kept in a slightly warm spot or in a Bain Marie).
For more French classics, check out our round-up of the most popular French foods.