Though prone to breaking (when the egg and butter separate), this sauce will hold together if you pay attention to the temperature and add the butter at a slow but steady pace. Once the eggs hit the heat, watch them closely so they don’t scramble. Serve Béarnaise sauce over Pepper-Crusted Filet Mignon.
- 1/3 cup champagne or white wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup dry white wine
- 1/3 cup finely chopped shallot (from about 1 medium)
- 5 fresh tarragon sprigs, leaves removed and finely chopped (about 1 tablespoon), stems reserved
- 6 whole black peppercorns, crushed
- 3 large egg yolks
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), cut into 8 pieces, at room temperature
- 1 to 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh chervil (optional)
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
1Fill a medium saucepan with 1 inch of water and bring it to a bare simmer over low heat.
2Meanwhile, combine the vinegar, wine, shallots, tarragon stems, and crushed peppercorns in a medium frying pan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook until reduced to just over 2 tablespoons, about 10 minutes. Strain the vinegar mixture, pressing on the solids, through a fine-mesh strainer and into a medium heatproof bowl large enough to sit suspended over (but not touching) the water in the saucepan; discard the solids.
3Add the egg yolks to the vinegar mixture and whisk to combine. Set the vinegar-yolk mixture over the simmering water and cook, whisking constantly, until the yolks thicken and the mixture forms ribbons when the whisk is lifted from the bowl, about 3 to 4 minutes. (Check to make sure the water does not boil by periodically removing the bowl from the saucepan using a pot holder or dry towel. If the water boils, reduce the heat so the eggs do not curdle.)
4Whisk in the butter pieces one at a time, making sure each piece is incorporated before adding the next, until all of the butter has been added, about 2 minutes total. Remove the sauce from heat. (If the sauce is too thick, you can thin it with a few drops of water.) Whisk in the chopped tarragon leaves and chervil (if using) and season with salt and pepper. Serve warm.
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