I adore a good hollandaise and couldn't survive without mayonnaise, but if I had to pick an all-time favorite 'aise, it might just be béarnaise. This tarragon-spiked, shallot-infused hollandaise is absolutely perfect with any and all steaks or roasts, especially lean ones.

Recipe Summary

prep:
15 mins
cook:
40 mins
total:
55 mins
Servings:
8
Yield:
1 cup sauce
Advertisement

Ingredients

8
Original recipe yields 8 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Reduction:
Compound Butter:
Bearnaise:

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Place 1 cup tarragon, shallots, and peppercorns in a saucepan. Pour in white wine vinegar, white wine, and water. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer; stir. Reduce heat to medium-low to maintain a gentle simmer and reduce liquid to about 3 tablespoons, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat. Strain into a bowl through a fine mesh strainer, pressing vegetable/herb mixture to extract as much liquid as possible.

    Advertisement
  • Place 1/4 cup chopped tarragon and capers in a mortar. Mash with a pestle about 1 minute. Add 1 tablespoon cold butter. Mash and pound with pestle until ingredients are thoroughly combined in a solid mass. Transfer to a piece of plastic wrap; wrap and chill.

  • Place egg yolks in a stainless steel (flameproof) mixing bowl; add 3 tablespoons tarragon/shallot reduction; whisk together. Add cold butter cubes. Place bowl over low to medium heat whisking constantly until sauce thickens, as you hold the bowl with a kitchen towel. After butter melts continue whisking; mixture will turn a lighter yellow color after 8 to 10 minutes. When mixture is nice and thick, reduce heat to low and stir in compound butter broken into chunks. Continue whisking. Remove from heat. Season with salt, cayenne pepper, and black pepper.

Chef's Note:

A sauce made from 75% butter has some advantages, and elevating lean meat is just one of them. This is also excellent on potatoes, vegetables, as well as just about any seafood I can imagine. And as I mentioned in the video, this can be used to make quite the memorable eggs Benedict.

Nutrition Facts

152 calories; protein 1.4g 3% DV; carbohydrates 2.9g 1% DV; fat 14.2g 22% DV; cholesterol 85.6mg 29% DV; sodium 38.4mg 2% DV. Full Nutrition
Advertisement

Reviews (7)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 4 stars
04/17/2017
A bit challenging. I'm an experienced cook, and I still struggled with this one. I love, love bearnaise sauce, and wanted to try it from scratch for a change for Easter dinner. Takes a long time to prep, which I knew going in. But here's where I flubbed up; I have a god-awful electric stovetop, so I struggle sometimes with cooking techniques that are very temperature sensitive. I was skeptical about putting my stainless steel mixing bowl on an electric burner, so I decided to use a double boiler. All was well until the "stir for 8-10 minutes" part near the end. It took only 30 seconds for the sauce to thicken and I wasn't prepared. When the sauce was finished, it was beautiful and velvety for a minute. However, it was much too vinegary for me and had gotten too thick, and I decided that I needed to "water it down" a little, which I did by adding more butter. The taste was fabulous, texture was great, and I thought I had won, but after sitting on the stovetop for two minutes, it separated and curdled. I could not rescue it. So, my advice to you is...if you don't have a really good grasp on emulsification, don't try to veer from Chef John's directions at all. My fault entirely, but hopefully I'll spare someone else the disappointment. Read More
(5)
7 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 6
  • 4 star values: 1
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 4 stars
04/16/2017
A bit challenging. I'm an experienced cook, and I still struggled with this one. I love, love bearnaise sauce, and wanted to try it from scratch for a change for Easter dinner. Takes a long time to prep, which I knew going in. But here's where I flubbed up; I have a god-awful electric stovetop, so I struggle sometimes with cooking techniques that are very temperature sensitive. I was skeptical about putting my stainless steel mixing bowl on an electric burner, so I decided to use a double boiler. All was well until the "stir for 8-10 minutes" part near the end. It took only 30 seconds for the sauce to thicken and I wasn't prepared. When the sauce was finished, it was beautiful and velvety for a minute. However, it was much too vinegary for me and had gotten too thick, and I decided that I needed to "water it down" a little, which I did by adding more butter. The taste was fabulous, texture was great, and I thought I had won, but after sitting on the stovetop for two minutes, it separated and curdled. I could not rescue it. So, my advice to you is...if you don't have a really good grasp on emulsification, don't try to veer from Chef John's directions at all. My fault entirely, but hopefully I'll spare someone else the disappointment. Read More
(5)
Rating: 5 stars
12/28/2016
I made this on Christmas Day to go with our meat and asparagus. It was a total hit. We didn't change anything! Read More
(4)
Rating: 5 stars
12/26/2016
Worked perfectly! Best steak sauce I've ever had! Read More
(3)
Advertisement
Rating: 5 stars
02/23/2019
So flavourful! Although I followed the recipe to the letter my sauce broke (did not combine). But No worries. I just stirred in a tblsp of cream. All was fine! Read More
(1)
Rating: 5 stars
05/11/2020
I had a good deal of tarragon in my herb garden and wanted to use it. This , Chef John, is perfect! We loved it. Next time I have too much tarragon in the garden, I’ll be doing this Bernaise. Thanks! Read More
(1)
Rating: 5 stars
07/26/2020
This is so easy and incredible. It takes a lot of fresh tarragon but is worth purchasing to create this beautiful sauce. Read More
Advertisement
Rating: 5 stars
07/20/2019
I didnt have any capers but that was the only change I made. My husband was in heaven with this sauce over his steak. Absolutely delicious. Thank-you. Read More
Advertisement