Classic Bearnaise Sauce

Classic Bearnaise Sauce

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  • white peppercorns 4 crushed

  • white wine vinegar ¼ cup

  • dry white wine ⅓ cup

  • egg yolk 4 larges

  • salt ¼ teaspoon

  • cayenne pepper pinch

  • butter, unsalted ½ pound 2-sticks

  • shallots 4 finely chopped

  • tarragon 2 tablespoons leaves, fresh


Heat the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat just to melt. Boil shallots, tarragon and peppercorns in vinegar and wine in a nonreactive medium-size saucepan over medium heat until reduced to about a 1/4 cup Strain into the top of a double broiler Whisk in the egg yolk Place the top over the bottom of the double broiler containing simmering water Make sure that the top of the water is below the bottom of the upper part of the double boiler Whisk constantly the second that the yolk mixture begins to thicken slightly, remove the top of the double broiler from the hot water, and continue whisking Turn off the heat Add four ice cubes to the bottom of the double broiler to cool the hot water a little Put the pan of yolks back above the hot water Whisk in the melted butter, drizzling it in very slowly If at any time the sauce looks as it is about to break, remove the top and continue whisking to cool it down or whisk in 1 teaspoon cold water With constant whisking, whisk in the salt and cayenne When all the butter is incorporated, taste and add more salt or cayenne as needed