Sauce Béarnaise is the classic accompaniment to roast beef. It’s named for Béarn in southwestern France, the birthplace of Henri IV, although the rather tenuous connection seems to be that it was created around 1830 at a Parisian restaurant called Pavilion Henri IV, rather than any association with Béarn itself. Correctly it’s made by reducing vinegar with shallot and French tarragon (see Method below). French tarragon can be hard to find however, and there’s no point in using the tasteless Russian variety (the one with flowers), so I use this short-cut with tarragon vinegar – it’s less fiddly and almost as good. Stir some chopped chives through the sauce if you can’t get French tarragon.
Makes about 150ml
- 2 egg yolks (see below)
- 1 tablespoon tarragon vinegar
- Salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 125g butter
- 1 teaspoon French tarragon leaves, finely sliced
Freeze egg white to make pavlova
- Combine egg yolks, vinegar, salt and pepper in a blender.
- Place butter in a saucepan and heat until bubbling.
- With the blender running, slowly pour the butter in, leaving the milky residue in the pan.
- Remove from blender and stir in the tarragon leaves.
- Serve warm (if you make it ahead of time, place the covered bowl in a sink of very hot water for a few minutes to reheat it).
To make traditional Sauce Béarnaise: combine ¼ cup white wine vinegar, 1 finely diced golden shallot and 6 roughly chopped sprigs of French tarragon in a small saucepan and boil until almost all the liquid has evaporated (you only need 1 tablespoon), strain through a fine sieve pressing to extract as much liquid as possible and use in place of the tarragon vinegar in the above recipe.
Try these other delicious steak sauces:
~ Pepper Steak
~ Steak Diane
~ Café de Paris
~ Green Peppercorn Hollandaise
~ Beef Tagliata with Salsa Verde
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