I’ve had my fair share of failures. Like the time I cut my finger with a hand blender. Or the time I could’ve killed my husband with pork meatballs and red sauce. And then there was the time I used steak rub instead of pepper. Oh, memories.
This post is about the time I tried to make a Béarnaise sauce, but ended up with melted butter instead.
Hmmm. I guess when I put it that way it really wasn’t a failure at all. Who doesn’t love melty butter? Especially when you add some herbs and drizzle it over a steak and a baked potato.
So, here’s the story. The steaks were on the grill, and it was time to make a sauce. Stat. I grabbed my sauce book*, scoured the cabinets, and realized I had nothing that the Béarnaise recipe called for, except for water, eggs, and salt.
This is how it worked out.
|Béarnaise recipe as it should be||Saucy Dipper Béarnaise recipe|
|1/2 ounce fresh tarragon||3 shakes of dried tarragon flakes|
|2 shallots, chopped||1/4 of large white onion|
|2 tbsp white wine vinegar||2 tbsp red wine vinegar|
|2 tbsp water||2 tbsp water|
|1 tsp lightly crushed white peppercorns||1 tsp lightly crushed black peppercorns|
|4 egg yolks||4 egg yolks|
|2 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, clarified||2 1/4 sticks salted butter|
|juice of 1/2 lemon||fake lemon juice|
|salt and freshly cracked plack pepper||salt and freshly cracked black pepper|
|a pinch of cayenne||3 pinches of paprika|
|1 tbsp chopped chevril leaves||n/a|
Bottom line: I whisked and whisked and whisked (I broke a sweat – seriously) and no ribbony, creamy sauce for me. Béarnaise should look like hollandaise sauce for Pete’s sake! Finally, I learned that clarified butter is helpful when making an emulsified sauce. Rookie mistake.
So…the egg yolks rested on the bottom and the butter floated to the top. It still tasted nice, but I was disappointed none the less.
For those of you interested in giving Béarnaise sauce a go. Here are the very basic steps for how to make Béarnaise sauce.
1. Bring shallots, vinegar, and water to a boil. Reduce to simmer until 2 tbsp of liquid remain.
2. Remove from heat and strain onions from liquid.
3. Add egg yolks to liquid and whisk fast.
4. Meanwhile, add water to double boiler over medium heat. Place mixture in top of double boiler, be careful not to let the mixture get too hot.
5. Once smooth and creamy, slowly add butter and whisk all the while.
6. Add lemon juice, tarragon, salt, and pepper (plus any other seasonings you like). Serve right away.
Remember, if your sauce breaks, add a tablespoon (or less) of cold water and whisk away.
*The Sauce Book by Paul Gayler