Béarnaise sauce is a smooth, creamy sauce derived from hollandaise, but with the added flavour of tarragon. It has many uses, often found as an accompaniment to steak or drizzled over vegetables. It also goes well with seafood and eggs. The uses of Béarnaise sauce are only limited by your imagination.
Bernaise Sauce Technique
To make a Béarnaise, begin by cooking shallots, tarragon, white wine, vinegar, chervil, salt and pepper in a pot until the mixture reduces and becomes very thick. At this point, strain the solids out or leave them in. Add egg yolks to this mixture and whip them together, which can be done either in a blender or in a metal bowl over heat with a whisk. Lastly, add clarified butter very slowly until the mixture emulsifies and becomes creamy. This step can also be done by hand with a whisk or in a blender.
Béarnaise sauce is a perfect accompaniment to grilled steak. Its creaminess softens the charred character of the meat, and the tarragon and shallots accent the steak's flavour. Serve drizzled over the top of the steak, or on the side in a small pouring container. Poultry also goes well with Béarnaise. The sauce's delicate flavours don't overpower chicken, and tarragon is a natural pairing with poultry.
As a sauce for fish, Béarnaise might be the absolute best choice. It is creamy and light, so it doesn't overpower a fish's delicate flavour. The creamy texture works well with both firm and flaky fish. The herbs subtly enhance the flavour of seafood without taking away from its natural flavour. Along with fish like salmon, bass and halibut, Béarnaise sauce also goes well with shellfish, especially lobster, scallops and crab.
Because of its similarities to hollandaise sauce, Béarnaise sauce can be used in many of the same ways. One of the most popular uses of hollandaise is on eggs Benedict. Béarnaise sauce can be easily substituted. The main difference is that Béarnaise has more of a savoury quality and lacks the citrus flavour of hollandaise, which can improve or detract from the dish, depending on your personal taste. Béarnaise is delicious with eggs in general, whether fried, scrambled or poached.
Béarnaise sauce can be used in place of hollandaise in any recipe for a more savoury flavour. Vegetables often served with hollandaise include asparagus, broccoli, and zucchini; Béarnaise sauce drizzled over them instead will give them a tangy, herbal kick.
Béarnaise sauce is thick enough to be used as a condiment on sandwiches instead of mayonnaise. It can also be drizzled over open-faced sandwiches. Try it poured over a croque-madame, which is a ham and cheese sandwich topped with an egg. Béarnaise is a delicious addition to any sandwich, but works especially well with roast beef, ham, steak and chicken sandwiches.