This sauce has become a cult in most parts of the world and is sometimes used as a measurement of a cooks skills in a kitchen, because it often is mistaken for a difficult sauce. Hence, are you able to make you own bearnaise from scratch, you must be a great cook, so learn how! This sauce is actually no more difficult than cooking a perfect steak, it just takes a little more time.
First some history
The first bearnaise sauce were invented by a French chef named Jean-Louis Francoise-Collinet. It was first served in 1836 at the opening of Le Pavilion Henri IV, placed in a former residence og the Henri IV of France. Henri IV were a gourmet enthusiast, just like us, and were born in a South-French province called Béarn. In his honor, the sauce were named after that.
Bearnaise is often considered an offspring of Escoffiers mother sauce, The Hollandaise. This, since it is made from clarified butter and egg yolks.
”A Béarnaise sauce is simply clarified butter, an egg yolk, a shallot, a little tarragon vinegar. It takes years of practice for the result to be perfect” - Fernand Point, Ma Gastronomie.
Some for the show-offs
A bearnaise is made of clarified butter emulsified in egg yolks and reduced vinegar to acidulate the yolks topped of with fresh herbs.
The most common way to prepare the sauce is called bain-marie, which is simply cooking in it a water bath, to maintain constant and low temperature, preventing it from separating. The temperature must not be above 60’ degrees or else it will split an be inedible. If so you can put it together by whisk an egg yolk, reduced vinegar and then whisk in the failed bearnaise instead of clarified butter.
Serve some of the knowledge along with your bearnaise and a perfectly cooked steak and you are guaranteed to impress your diners.