Bearnaise sauce is a classic French sauce that is a staple in French cuisine. It is a rich and creamy sauce that is made with egg yolks, butter, white wine vinegar, shallots, tarragon, and other herbs and spices. It is a versatile sauce that is used to enhance the flavor of many dishes, and it has a unique taste that is hard to describe. In this article, we will explore what Bearnaise sauce tastes like, what it is used for, and some delicious ways to enjoy it.
What is Bearnaise Sauce?
Bearnaise sauce is a classic French sauce that originated in the town of Béarn in the southwest of France. It is a derivative of Hollandaise sauce, which is made with butter, egg yolks, and lemon juice.
The main difference between Bearnaise sauce and Hollandaise sauce is that Bearnaise sauce includes shallots, tarragon, and other herbs and spices, giving it a more complex and flavorful taste. It is a sauce that is used to enhance the flavor of many dishes, including steak, fish, vegetables, and eggs.
The traditional ingredients for Bearnaise sauce include:
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon chopped shallots
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chervil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
However, there are many variations of Bearnaise sauce that include different herbs and spices, such as chives, parsley, and thyme. Some recipes also call for the addition of Dijon mustard, lemon juice, or Worcestershire sauce to enhance the flavor.
How it’s made
To make Bearnaise sauce, the egg yolks, vinegar, shallots, and herbs are whisked together in a double boiler or a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water. The mixture is whisked until it becomes thick and creamy. The butter is then melted in a separate pan and slowly whisked into the egg mixture, creating a rich and creamy sauce. The sauce is seasoned with salt and cayenne pepper to taste and served immediately.
Variations of Bearnaise sauce
There are many variations of Bearnaise sauce, each with its own unique flavor profile. Some popular variations include:
- Tarragon Bearnaise sauce
- Chervil Bearnaise sauce
- Chive Bearnaise sauce
- Parsley Bearnaise sauce
- Thyme Bearnaise sauce
Each variation adds a different flavor to the sauce, making it perfect for different dishes.
What Does Bearnaise Sauce Taste Like?
Bearnaise sauce has a rich and creamy texture that is similar to Hollandaise sauce, but with a more complex and flavorful taste. The shallots and tarragon give the sauce a slightly sweet and tangy taste, while the butter adds a rich and velvety flavor to the sauce.
The cayenne pepper adds a subtle heat to the sauce, and the vinegar gives it a slight acidity that balances out the richness of the butter. Overall, Bearnaise sauce has a luxurious taste that is perfect for enhancing the flavor of many dishes.
The texture of Bearnaise sauce is smooth and creamy, with a velvety mouthfeel that coats your tongue. It is a thick sauce that clings to food, adding flavor and richness to every bite. The aroma of Bearnaise sauce is herbaceous and slightly sweet, with a hint of tanginess from the vinegar and shallots.
What’s the Difference Between Hollandaise and Béarnaise Sauces?
Hollandaise and Bearnaise sauces are both classic French sauces that are rich, creamy, and full of flavor. However, they differ in their ingredients and flavor profiles.
Hollandaise sauce is made from egg yolks, butter, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt. The sauce is typically served warm and is a staple in classic brunch dishes such as Eggs Benedict. Hollandaise sauce has a rich, buttery flavor and a velvety texture that coats the palate.
On the other hand, Bearnaise sauce is made with the same basic ingredients as Hollandaise sauce but with the addition of tarragon, shallots, and white wine vinegar. The tarragon gives Bearnaise sauce a distinctive herbaceous flavor and aroma that is often described as slightly anise-like. Bearnaise sauce is typically served with grilled meats such as steak and roasted chicken.
Another difference between these two sauces is their preparation method. While both sauces require emulsifying butter into egg yolks, Hollandaise is typically made over a double boiler and whisked vigorously to prevent curdling, while Bearnaise is made with the addition of tarragon, shallots, and white wine vinegar, and is often finished with a reduction of white wine and shallots.
Hollandaise and Bearnaise sauces are similar in their creamy texture and rich flavor but differ in their ingredients and preparation methods. Hollandaise sauce is a classic brunch staple, while Bearnaise sauce is often served with grilled meats. So whether you’re a fan of the rich and buttery flavor of Hollandaise or the herbaceous notes of Bearnaise, there’s a classic French sauce for every taste and occasion.
What Do You Eat Béarnaise Sauce With?
Bearnaise sauce is a versatile sauce that can be used to enhance the flavor of many dishes. Some classic pairings for Bearnaise sauce include:
- Roasted vegetables
- Eggs Benedict
- Grilled chicken
Bearnaise sauce can also be used as a dip for French fries or as a spread for sandwiches. It is a sauce that can elevate any dish and add a touch of luxury to your meal.
Unique and creative pairings
If you’re looking for unique and creative ways to enjoy Bearnaise sauce, here are some delicious ideas:
- Drizzle Bearnaise sauce over a baked potato for a rich and flavorful topping.
- Use Bearnaise sauce as a dip for grilled shrimp or lobster.
- Spread Bearnaise sauce on a grilled cheese sandwich for a decadent twist on a classic comfort food.
- Mix Bearnaise sauce into mashed potatoes for a rich and creamy side dish.
- Use Bearnaise sauce as a sauce for pizza, along with caramelized onions and mushrooms.
These creative pairings showcase the versatility of Bearnaise sauce and how it can be used to enhance the flavor of many different dishes.
Delicious Ways to Enjoy Bearnaise Sauce
If you’re looking for delicious ways to enjoy Bearnaise sauce, here are some recipes to try:
Steak with Bearnaise Sauce
This classic dish is a staple in French cuisine and is perfect for a special occasion or a romantic dinner for two.
- 2 6-ounce filet mignon steaks
- 1/4 cup Bearnaise sauce
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Season the steaks with salt and pepper on both sides.
- Heat the olive oil in a skillet over high heat.
- Add the steaks to the skillet and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side for medium-rare.
- Remove the steaks from the skillet and let them rest for 5 minutes.
- Serve the steaks with Bearnaise sauce drizzled over the top.
Bearnaise Sauce Eggs Benedict
This classic brunch dish is elevated to a whole new level with the addition of Bearnaise sauce.
- 4 English muffins, split and toasted
- 8 slices Canadian bacon
- 8 poached eggs
- 1/2 cup Bearnaise sauce
- Place the toasted English muffins on a plate.
- Top each half with a slice of Canadian bacon and a poached egg.
- Drizzle Bearnaise sauce over the top of the eggs and serve immediately.
Grilled Chicken with Bearnaise Sauce
This easy and delicious recipe is perfect for a quick weeknight dinner.
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 cup Bearnaise sauce
- Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.
- Season the chicken breasts with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Grill the chicken for 5-7 minutes on each side, or until fully cooked.
- Drizzle Bearnaise sauce over the top of the chicken and serve immediately.
Bearnaise Sauce Fondue
This fun and interactive dish is perfect for a dinner party or a cozy night in.
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
- 1 cup grated Emmental cheese
- 1/2 cup Bearnaise sauce
- Assorted bread, vegetables, and meats for dipping
- Heat the heavy cream in a saucepan over medium heat until it simmers.
- Add the grated Gruyere and Emmental cheese to the saucepan and stir until melted and smooth.
- Add the Bearnaise sauce to the cheese mixture and stir until fully combined.
- Transfer the cheese mixture to a fondue pot and keep warm over a low flame.
- Arrange the bread, vegetables, and meats on a platter for dipping.
- Dip the bread, vegetables, and meats into the Bearnaise sauce fondue and enjoy!
Bearnaise sauce is a rich and luxurious sauce that can elevate any dish. Its herbaceous and slightly tangy flavor, combined with its smooth and velvety texture, make it a favorite among food lovers worldwide. Whether you’re drizzling it over a perfectly cooked steak, using it as a dip for French fries, or adding it to a classic Eggs Benedict, Bearnaise sauce is a sauce that will add flavor and luxury to any dish. So the next time you’re looking to add a touch of decadence to your meal, reach for a jar of Bearnaise sauce and enjoy!