- Servings: Makes about 1 cup.
Béarnaise Sauce is Hollandaise Sauce (one of the French "mother" sauces) to which is added a tea-like reduction of tarragon and vinegar. If you then also add small, tender pieces of tomato that have been cooked with shallots and garlic, it becomes Sauce Choron.
This luxurious sauce is served warm and adds an almost irresistible combination of butter, garlic, vinegar, and shallots, along with the tinge of tarragon and tomato. Yes it is rich, but a small amount is all that is needed. While luscious sauce may be gilding the lily of a perfectly grilled entrecôte or sautéed fish fillet, its flavor is luxurious and satisfying.
While the recipe may seem complicated, in fact it's three separate steps, done in a sequence: first you make the tomato confit, then the Béarnaise redution, and finally the Hollandaise. Then everything is combined. Just take your time and it will all come together at the end.
This sauce can be made a few hours before serving but it's best kept warm over a pan of gently simmering water.
10 g. (.33 oz.) unsalted butter
10 g. (.33 oz.) shallots, finely minced
1/2 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
100 g. (3.5 oz.) plum tomato, peeled, seeded, and minced (about 1/4" pieces)
- Heat a medium saucepan over medium-low heat and add the butter.
- Add the shallots and garlic and sweat them in the melted butter until soft, but not colored.
- Add the tomatoes and cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until all the excess moisture has evaporated. It will have a jam-like consistency. Season with a pinch of salt and several grinds of black pepper.
- Hold to the side but keep the mixture warm without continuing to cook it.
The Béarnaise Reduction
40 ml (1.5 oz.) white wine vinegar
20 g (.75 oz.) finely minced shallots
1/2 teaspoon whole peppercorns
1 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon
2.5 oz. white wine
- To make the reduction, place the vinegar, shallots, peppercorns, tarragon, and white wine in a small saucepan and reduce by 80%. Set aside and allow the reduction to cool.
- Strain it and hold to the side at room temperature.
The Béarnaise Sauce
2 egg yolks
Béarnaise reduction, strained
15 ml (.5 oz.) water
200 ml (7 oz.) clarified butter, warm
1 teaspoon fresh tarragon, finely minced
- Place the egg yolks, the strained vinegar reduction and the 15 ml/1/2 oz. of water in a heatproof bowl (metal is good for this), placing it over a pot of lightly simmering water, whisking and cooking the mixture until the yolks are thick and light. This mixture is called a sabayon.
- Remove the pot and the bowl from the heat and add the warm clarified butter in a slow, steady stream while whisking so that the sabayon gradually emulsifies with the butter, in the same way as when making mayonnaise.
- When all the butter is added, gently add the tomato fondue. Taste the sauce, adjust the seasonings, and add the additional minced tarragon.
- Keep the finished sauce warm until ready to serve.