|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 26g||33%|
|Saturated Fat 15g||77%|
|Total Carbohydrate 5g||2%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||3%|
|Total Sugars 2g|
|Vitamin C 3mg||16%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
This classic French sauce is made from a reduction of vinegar and wine mixed with shallots and tarragon and thickened with egg yolks and butter. The light yellow, smooth, and creamy sauce is served with meat, fish, eggs, and vegetables, and is especially delicious with whole roasted tenderloin.
Considered a "child" of Hollandaise sauce, one of the five French "mother sauces," bearnaise has been around for quite some time. It is believed that it was invented by the chef Collinet in 1836 at the opening of his restaurant, Le Pavillion Henri IV, near Paris, France. The name is derived from Bearn, France, where Henry IV of France was born.
The method here is the traditional way to make bearnaise, by using a double boiler to reduce the liquid and whisk the egg yolks. You may come across recipes calling for a blender, which also works well. Once you feel comfortable making a bearnaise, you will be able to try your hand at many other French sauces, as the techniques are very similar.
"Classic for a reason, this sauce is perfect for dressing up any dinner protein. Very savory and round in flavor. The tarragon adds a nice hint of herbaceousness. It’s even delicious enough to be used as a dipping sauce for garlicky bread or veggies." —Renae E. Wilson
1/2 pound unsalted butter
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/3 cup dry white wine
4 shallots, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves
4 white peppercorns, crushed
4 large egg yolks
4 ice cubes
1/4 teaspoon salt
Steps to Make It
Gather the ingredients.
Heat the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat until it is just melted.
In another medium-sized non-reactive saucepan, boil the vinegar, wine, shallots, tarragon, and peppercorns over medium heat until reduced to about 1/4 cup.
Strain into a measuring cup. Discard the solids.
Whisk the egg yolks in the top portion of a double boiler. Slowly pour the warm vinegar mixture into the yolks, whisking constantly to avoid scrambling them.
Place the top portion of the double boiler over the bottom of the double boiler containing simmering water. Make sure that the simmering water is not touching the bottom of the pan with the egg mixture. Whisk constantly.
The second that the yolk mixture begins to thicken slightly, about 3 minutes, remove the pan from above the hot water and continue whisking.
Turn off the heat and add the ice cubes to the bottom of the double boiler to cool the hot water a little.
Put the pan of yolks back above the hot water. Whisk in the melted butter, drizzling it in very slowly as you whisk.
If at any time the sauce looks as if it is about to break, remove the pan and continue whisking to cool it down or whisk in 1 teaspoon cold water.
Whisk in the salt and cayenne.
When all the butter is incorporated, taste and add more salt or cayenne as needed. Use the sauce immediately on your favorite dishes.
Raw Egg Warning
Consuming raw and lightly-cooked eggs poses a risk of food-borne illness.
How to Use Bearnaise Sauce
Here are some recipes that bearnaise sauce goes well with:
How to Store Bearnaise Sauce
Bearnaise sauce is best consumed the day it's made, as soon as it's ready. You can, if needed, store it in a covered container in the fridge for up a couple of days. At that point, you can spread it on toast because it will not be sauce-like anymore, or take it out and gently reheat it over a double boiler. Bear in mind, however, that it may not taste as good as it did when it was fresh, because bearnaise is really a sauce that's best made right before serving.
What is the Difference Between Hollandaise and Bearnaise?
These two sauces are very similar. Hollandaise is a more basic sauce using a reduction of lemon juice and white wine. Bearnaise, like this one here, typically uses shallot, peppercorns, and tarragon (or sometimes chervil) in a reduction of vinegar and wine.