Ok Béarnaise, you and me, in the kitchen…now!

So I tried to make Béarnaise and failed miserably.  I think I just went into it cocky, I’ve never lost a fight to a sauce before.  I didn’t respect its fight and it took advantage of me.

This time, I wouldn’t make that mistake

Robert Downey


First I had to understand my foe…what exactly was a Béarnaise sauce?  A Béarnaise is an offshoot of Hollandaise, one of the 5 five French mother sauces  (Béchamel, Espagnole, Tomato and Velouté being the other 4).  Hollandaise is basically eggyolk and butter emulsified and Béarnaise is a fancier version with a couple more ingredients.


So it was time to get crackin, I used J. Kenji López as a resource for putting together a simple recipe.

  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 4 sprigs tarragon, leaves finely minced, stems reserved separately
  • 1 small shallot, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter



Step one, I dropped the diced onions into a small pot, added the taragon stems, white wine, vinegar, and shallots.




I let that simmer until there was about 1-2 tablespoons of liquid remaining, then I strained it into a small cup that my immersion blender would fit into.  I used my hand to really push down the solid matter to squeeze out the liquid.



Next I put alittle salt and the two egg yolks in the bottom of the cup, lightly inserted my immersion blender into the cup and prepared myself.



I heated the butter in a small pot, let it simmer until the froth started to dissipate.



So this is the crucial part…I got the blender whirring and had the eggyolk/vinegar mixture blending.  Then I grabbed the pot of hot hot butter and slowly drizzled it into the cup while blending, making sure it was getting sucked down into the mix and lifting/dropped my blender to make sure it was getting dispersed.  Slowly kept drizzling, until there was no butter left, then I dropped in the remaining tarragon and what I beheld was a thick creamy goodness unlike any I had created before it.






I would like to say that that was that and I had succeed…unfortunately I made the sauce perfect about an hour before my steak was ready, I put it into a warmer to keep it warm because if you let Béarnaise it falls apart.  Well I ended up throwing a giant shit fit in the kitchen as I watched it go from gooey wonderfulness to complete watery garbage in front of my eyes, completely unsalvageable.  To make matter worse I had run out of butter so I had to send my wife on an emergency butter run.  She came through though so I get to make this blog post.  Repeated the entire thing one more time, this time right before serving the steak.


The finished product.




My steak definitely thanked me for all the heartache.




This was definitely one of those “mission accomplished” type things…it took me 4 attempts and a couple stupid errors along the way to figure it out and nail it.


  1. Dont make it ahead of time, its too much of a pain in the ass to keep it afloat.
  2. Get your butter HOT
  3. Use good blending technique