Bearnaise Sauce

Bearnaise Sauce

Bearnaise Sauce

37 years ago this month, John and I were married.  (Yes, the groomsmen stylishly wore baby blue tuxes.)  One of the wedding gifts that has been most used over the years is the cookbook, Joy of Cooking, a bastion of clear instructions for mostly complicated cooking.  The 2 most prepared recipes in my copy of the book are Pancakes and Bearnaise Sauce.  Two ends of the kitchen spectrum, one might say.  For those of you who have not enjoyed its amazing flavors, Bearnaise Sauce is a tarragon-imbued butter sauce, a close relative of Hollandaise Sauce.  Beef of any variety drizzled with Bearnaise Sauce, a lightly dressed salad, and a choice red wine is heaven on earth, one of our family’s favorite meals.  Last year, we discovered Darcie Kent Vineyards 2011 Rava Blackjack Sauvignon Blanc, which has a distinct jalapeno edge.  I immediately thought of how it would enhance different dishes, and I was right beyond imagination.  Bearnaise is always excellent, but Darcie Kent’s Sauvignon Blanc kicks it up to yet another notch of divine.  I hope you are able to enjoy the flavors of summer, including Bearnaise Sauce on your grilled NY Strips, tri-tip, top sirloin roast, filet mignons, …

Bearnaise Sauce:
Part 1:  Separate 3 extra large eggs, saving the whites for scrambled eggs (to make up for the richness you are eating tonight) or meringues, and put the yolks in a small bowl.  Put 3/4 cup butter (use Trader Joe’s, Berkshire Farms, Land o Lakes, or Danish Creamery butter — I have been unsuccessful with Costco and Safeway butters) in a glass 2-cup measuring cup and microwave until melted.  Using a whisk, whip the egg yolks until they thicken and are a deep gold. While whisking, very, very, very slowly drizzle the butter into the egg yolks.  I am serious–do this very slowly, especially the first time you make this recipe.  You want to see the yolks and butter blending seamlessly.  If butter starts floating around unintegrated into the yolks, stop adding butter and whisk until all is blended smoothly.  Add all of the butter to the yolks–the mixture should be smooth and golden.

Part 2:  In a glass 2-cup measuring cup, add 1/4 cup white wine (I prefer Darcie Kent Vineyards2011 Rava Blackjack Sauvignon Blanc), 1/4 cup tarragon vinegar, 3 teaspoons dehydrated minced onion, 2 teaspoons dried tarragon, and 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes.  Microwave the wine/vinegar/herb mixture until there is only ~1 Tablespoon liquid left.  You have a choice here:  1) add all of the herbs and liquid to the butter/yolk mixture  OR  2) strain only the liquid from the vinegar/wine/herb distillation into the butter/yolk mixture.  It’s purely personal preference–sometimes you want to see the herbs, sometimes you want creamy smooth.  Either way is delish!  Whisk your sauce, thoroughly enjoying the tarragony aromas.  Serve.

If you like, you can substitute fresh or dried chives for the dehydrated minced onion.  I like 2 tsp onions and 1 tsp chives sometimes. As a bonus, here’s how to make Hollandaise Sauce.

Hollandaise Sauce:
Part 1:  Follow the instructions above for Part 1.
Part 2:  Squeeze the juice from 1/2 fresh lemon.  Stir it into the butter/yolk mixture.  Taste and add more lemon to taste, if needed.  Voila!

I sometimes like to add 1-3 splashes of Crystal pepper sauce or a bit of sirache to zip up my Hollandaise.  Hollandaise Sauce is what makes Eggs Benedict so spectacular.  It is also extremely yummy on any vegetable, especially broccoli or asparagus.


About the Author: Judi never does anything short, be it children (even at 5' 10", all 3 kids outgrew her), a voicemail message, a menu for family & friends, a day of visiting wineries, or a wine pour. Especially the latter; wine glasses are large for a reason! Her daughter-in-laws and their friends have a measure called The Judi-Pour. That means we have blessedly good relationships, 'cuz her name could be attached to worse. Sparkling wines are my go-to, but there is always a time for a peppery Pinot Noir or a crisp Pinot Grigio. Or a chill Sauvignon Blanc poolside or a toasty Cab in hand while playing bocce or a frizzante after work or.....

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