Sunday, February 18, 2007

Sauce Béarnaise


This is one of the most delicious things I know, and yet I had never attempted to make my own until a few days ago, for Valentine's Day. I had been rather nervous, reading up on recipes from all sorts of books, and pestering my friend Jesper (who has a lovely food blog in Swedish here) with questions. In the end, I decided to trust Nigella, and not bother with clarified butter. Instead, I used diced softened butter, and it worked out very well. No signs of splitting!

We made the amount below just for us two, and it made quite a lot. It could easily have fed one more, or possibly too - depending on hunger and more importantly, greediness. This is really very, very good, and I'm not saying that you should eat it every day, but it's fine for an occasional treat. Try not to think about the amount of butter. And have something light for dessert.

Sauce Béarnaise
Serves 2-4

3 egg yolks
175-200 g butter
1 shalott
1 tsp whole white pepper
1/2 + 1/2 tsp dried tarragon
4 tbsp white wine vinegar, or tarragon vinegar
freshly squeezed lemon

Start by cracking your eggs and separating them. Put the egg yolks in a round-bottomed bowl, that will fit on top of one of your saucepans. Dice the butter, and keep on a plate in room temperature for about an hour. Each dice should be pretty small - no more than 10 grams.

Dice the shalott very finely, and mix with 1/2 tsp dried tarragon, the vinegar and the white pepper in a small saucepan. Reduce until you have about 1 tbsp of liquid - this will happen very fast. Strain the liquid into a clean cup and put aside to cool to room temperature.

When you're ready to make your sauce, place a saucepan with a little bit of water in it on the stove and heat until the water is simmering but absolutely not boiling. Place your bowl of egg yolks on top of the pan (witout touching the bottom!) and add the reduced liquid. Beat with a large balloon whisk until it's foamy. Add the butter, one dice at a time, and whisk well the whole time. The sauce will gradually thicken. When all the butter is added, you're pretty much done. Remove from heat, and whisk in a few drops of squeezed lemon, and some more (1/2 tsp) of dried tarragon.

Recipe in Swedish:
Sauce Béarnaise


Jesper said...

Great recipe. I'm happy to see things worked out for you. Thanks a lot for the link, by the way. Keep up the good work!

Kalyn said...

Most impressive. This is one of those delicious things I've never tried to make. In college I worked at a french restaurant and we were allowed to eat certain things; we used to eat garlic bread (fried bread) dipped in this as a snack!

D-man said...

Oooh, aaah. Thank you for the reminder to make this, as it is bliss.......and a fantastic way to get kids to eat their vegetables.