Bearnaise is a delicious sauce, and a fine accompaniment to steaks, fish, broiled chicken, and eggs dishes. It is not difficult to make if you carefully read the recipe through from beginning to end before starting to cook.
The vinegar and shallots will fill the house with a wonderful aroma, and if you can find fresh tarragon, it is so much better than dried, although dried may be used successfully.
For a tomato bearnaise, beat 2 to 4 tablespoons of tomato paste or puree into the sauce and correct the seasoning. Bearnaise Sauce 1/2 cup white wine vinegar 1 tablespoons shallots or scallions, minced 1 tablespoons fresh tarragon, minced, or 1/2 tablespoon dried tarragon 1/8 teaspoon pepper Pinch of salt 3 egg yolks 2 tablespoons cold butter 1/2 to 2/3 cup melted butter 2 tablespoons fresh tarragon or parsley minced
Boil vinegar, shallots or scallions, herbs, and seasonings over moderate heat until the liquid is reduced to 2 tablespoons. Let it cool.
Beat egg yolks for about 1 minute in a small saucepan, or until they become thick and sticky. Strain in the vinegar mixture and beat for a minute more. Add 1 tablespoon of cold butter, but do not beat it in.
Place saucpan over very low heat or barely simmering water and stir egg yolks with a wire whisk until they slowly thicken into a smooth cream. This will take 1 to 2 minutes.
If they seem to be thickening too quickly, or even suggest a lumpy quality, immediately plunge the bottom of the pan in cold water, beating the yolks to cool them. Then continue beating over low heat. The egg yolks have thickened enough when you can begin to see the bottom of the pan between strokes, and the mixture forms a light cream on the wires of the whisk.
Immediately remove from heat and beat in remaining tablespoon of cold butter, which will cool egg yolks and stop their cooking. Then beating yolks with whisk , pour in melted butter by droplets until sauce begins to thicken into a very heavy cream. Then pour the butter a little more rapidly. Omit the milky residue at the bottom of the butter pan. Correct seasoning and beat in tarragon or parsley. Makes 1 1/2 cups.