Tag Archive | "Hollandaise sauce"

Béarnaise Sauce: Variation on Elegant Hollandaise

When you make a basic Hollandaise, but add the flavors of fresh tarragon, shallot, tarragon vinegar, a pinch of black pepper and maybe even a bit of spicy cayenne pepper, the sauce turns from rich-but-tame to rich-but- piquant.

Béarnaise sauce is often used as a topping for filet mignon or grilled lamb. But, it’s also delicious and decadent  on top of poached eggs. Use in place of Hollandaise for eggs Benedict, for instance. Or, put it on poached or roasted salmon or sliced duck breast.

The recipe that follows is adapted from French chef Anne Willan’s recipe for Hollandaise sauce, in her book  “Cook it Right” (Reader’s Digest, $29.95).

Béarnaise Sauce

1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1/2 cup tarragon vinegar or white wine vinegar (or mixture of the two)
1 tablespoon fresh chopped tarragon plus 1 teaspoon, divided use
2 teaspoons minced fresh shallot
4 egg yolks
Pinch salt
Pinch black pepper
Juice of half a lemon
Pinch red (cayenne) pepper, if desired

Put butter in a small, heavy-bottomed pan to melt on the stove slowly. Skim off the white foam that collects on top and discard.

In another small pan put the tarragon vinegar, 1 tablespoon of the fresh chopped tarragon and the shallot. Turn the heat on medium-low and let the liquid reduce by about half. Strain this mixture, reserving 4 tablespoons of the seasoned vinegar. If you don’t have 4 tablespoons of liquid, add some water to it.

Set the melted, clarified butter off to the side of the stove and put a ladle into it. Next to the butter, on the counter, put a thick dishtowel.

Put a pan of water on the stove and bring to a simmer.

In a steel bowl that will fit just a little ways down into the pot of water, whisk together the 4 egg yolks with the 4 tablespoons of the tarragon vinegar liquid until the eggs are frothy and light in color. Now, put the bowl over the simmering water in the pot, and whisk vigorously to form a mousse that is creamy and thick enough to hold a ribbon train for 3 seconds.  Just 3-4 minutes or so, no more.  Don’t let the bottom of the bowl touch the hot water, or the eggs will cook too quickly.

When the eggs are thick, but not curdling, take the bowl off the water bath and put it on the dishtowel to steady it while you whisk in the butter. Pour the butter in with the ladle, slowly, a little at a time, whisking the sauce as you go. When the sauce is incorporated into the eggs, add the lemon juice along with the rest of the chopped fresh chopped tarragon and pinch of cayenne, if you wish, and whisk some more.

Set aside in a warm place for a few minutes, but use as soon as you can.

Makes 1 1/2 cups sauce.

Adapted from Anne Willan, “Cook it Right”

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Eggs Sardou Offer a Taste of New Orleans

Poached Eggs“Eggs Sardou was created at Antoine’s, named after French playwright Victorien Sardou, and remains one of the grandest of the grand New Orleans egg dishes, of which there are many,” according to “I boiled fresh artichokes for this recipe, but it would certainly be all right to use good quality canned artichoke bottoms; in fact, I wish I had, it wasn’t worth the extra effort and cost.”

Eggs Sardou

4 poached eggs (see below)
1 recipe creamed spinach (see below)
1 recipe Hollandaise sauce (see below)
Slices of prosciutto, optional
4 artichoke bottoms
Paprika for sprinkling

Poached eggs:

Fill a dutch oven with 1 inch of water, heat until just below a simmer. Add a few dashes of white vinegar. Crack the eggs and gently drop them into the water, keeping the shell as close to the water as possible when dropping them in. With a slotted spoon, gently move the ghost like strands of white back to the yolk. The eggs are done when the whites are no longer transparent, and the yolks are still runny. Remove with a slotted spoon and gently dry off with a towel.

Creamed spinach:

1 cup cooked and chopped spinach, squeezed in a kitchen towel to remove excess water
1 pint heavy cream, reduced by 3/4 of its volume
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of cayenne
1 teaspoon Crystal Hot Sauce
Drops of Worcestershire sauce
Kosher salt, to taste

In a saucepan over low heat, add spinach. Stir in cream. Add nutmeg, cayenne, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce and salt. Adjust seasonings to taste and cook until flavors are melded.

Hollandaise sauce:

2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup clarified butter, warm
Kosher salt, to taste
Cayenne pepper, to taste
Dash of Crystal Hot Sauce
Drops of Worcestershire sauce

Place the vinegar, lemon juice, and egg yolks in the top deck of a double boiler. The water in the lower deck should be hot but not boiling.

Whisk slowly until you see the yolks start to coagulate on the sides. If the pan gets too hot, remove it from the heat for a minute, whisking constantly.

Whisk while cooking, minding the bowl temperature, until the yolks are lighter in color and do not leave yellow streaks when the whisk goes through them. If you see any signs of scrambling, remove the bowl from the heat.

When the yolk/acid mixture is good and thick, remove from the heat and slowly drizzle in the clarified butter, whisking constantly, until incorporated.

Add the hot and Worcestershire sauces, and season to taste with the salt and cayenne.

If the sauce is a little too thick, you can thin it down with a few splashes of hot water.

Makes about 2/3 cup.

To assemble: Divide the creamed spinach in the center of two heated plates, nest two artichoke bottoms per plate on the spinach. Place prosciutto on each artichoke bottom, if using, followed by a poached egg. Top with a generous portion of Hollandaise sauce. Sprinkle with paprika. Serve.

Makes 2 servings.

Adapted from

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