Bearnaise is a version of hollandaise sauce that has been flavored with fresh tarragon. Hot emulsion sauces like bearnaise and hollandaise are more difficult than most other French sauces, as temperature fluctuations can cause the emulsion to break or overcook the egg yolks. Try to make this sauce as close to serving the dish as possible, but give yourself time (and ingredients) to remake it if it falls apart on you. The keys to success are to give it your undivided attention, and to be very methodical when adding the clarified butter. For another, easier, hot emulsion sauce, see our Beurre Blanc Recipe (pictured: Broiled Wagyu Steak with Sauce Bearnaise and Fried Potatoes).
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 shallot
- ½ cup champagne vinegar
- 2 sticks of unsalted butter, clarified (how to clarify butter)
- 1 sprig fresh tarragon + 2 tbsp chopped
- 1 cup heavy cream, whipped
For a more traditional (heavier) bearnaise, omit the whipped cream. For a classic hollandaise sauce, omit the whipped cream and replace the vinegar, shallots, and tarragon with lemon juice to taste and a pinch of cayenne pepper.