Monday, May 3, 2010

30 Things to Make Before I Turn 30: Julia Child's Bearnaise Sauce

I'm going to be completely honest and straightforward here: Julia Child would not be impressed with my Bearnaise Sauce. It was waaaaay too thin and instead of trying to fix it with another five steps like Julia recommends in her book Mastering the Art of French Cooking, I just served it. Thankfully I have an extremely supportive, easy to please husband who not only drowned his steak in this sauce and sang it's praises, he DRANK this sauce because he thought it was that delicious. 

So my first endeavor with Julia Child's Bearnaise sauce is nothing to brag about. I will take make another attempt to "master" this incredibly buttery and sinful sauce at a later date.

Julia Childs' Bearnaise Sauce

Bearnaise sauce differns from hollandaise sauce only in taste and strength; instead of lemon juice, its basic flavoring is a reduction of wine, vinegar, shallots, pepper, and tarragon. 
1/4 cup wine vinegar
1/4 cup dry white wine or dry white vermouth 
1 tablespoon minced shallots or green onions
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon or 1/2 tablespoon dried tarragon
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Pinch of salt
3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon cold water
3 tablespoons cold butter
1/2 to 2/3 cup melted butter
2 tablespoons fresh minced tarragon or parsley

In a small saucepan boil the vinegar, wine, shallots or onions, herbs, and seasonings over moderate heat until the liquid has reduced to 2 tablespoons. Let it cool.
Beat the egg yolks until thick.  Add in the lemon juice and cold water. Strain in the vinegar mixture and beat. Add 1 tablespoon of cold butter and thicken the egg yolks over low heat. Beat in the other tablespoon of cold butter, then the melted butter by droplets. Correct seasoning, and beat in the tarragon or parsley. 

Makes 1 1/2 cups.

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