Bearnaise Sauce

Make Your Meal Something Truly Special!

Bearnaise sauce is a smooth fresh herb-flavoured sauce that is good with beef steaks, fish, chicken and even egg dishes. I think it is wonderful poured over vegetables too, especially cauliflower and broccoli.

Herbs usually used are parsley and tarragon and it tastes fabulous if fresh herbs are used but you can use dried when they are not available.


  • 4oz butter
  • 2 egg yolks

  • 4 tablespoons wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon chopped shallot or small onion
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon and parsley


  • Place the shallots with the wine vinegar into a small saucepan and simmer until it has reduced and you have one tablespoon left.
  • Place a basin over a pan of hot water on a low heat - this is a bain marie.
  • Sieve the contents of the pan - the shallots and wine vinegar - into the basin.
  • Add one tablespoon of water and 1/2 oz butter to the wine vinegar.
  • Add the beaten egg yolks and begin to whisk them with a small whisk until the sauce begins to thicken.

Do not allow the sauce to boil, keep it simmering, then add the rest of the butter, whisking it in a little bit at a time until it has all been incorporated into the sauce.

When the sauce is lovely and creamy and smooth, put in the tarragon and parsley herbs and taste it to see how much salt and pepper you need to add to it.

Serve your sauce warm and not hot as if heated too much, it will curdle and separate.

This is how you make a very ordinary dish into a special occasion!

For more French sauces you may enjoy see here.

Herbs are one of the most important ingredients in French cooking and they not only give a good flavour, but also help you cut down on the salt content of your dishes so that has to be a good thing. You can grow your own herbs quite easily on the windowsill in your kitchen if you do not have a garden.

Of course many herbs grow mainly in the summer time so it is not always possible to have lots of fresh ones. However, they can be frozen when there is a glut of them and you can buy lots of dried herbs to have in your food cupboard as a stand by.

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