Monday, September 17, 2012


My first attempt ever at making Bearnaise sauce.  And it really wasn't all that hard!  I usually use those packets where you add butter and milk and stir until thick.  They're good but I've just always wanted to do it from scratch.  I found a few recipes online but every one I looked at had alcohol in it so I went to the pantry to see what I could substitute since I don't drink.  I did find some red wine vinegar that I use every so often for salad dressing so I pulled it out.  I don't really like it but figured if I messed it up, I'd mark it up to trial and error.  I added just a splash over 1/4 cup to a small frying pan.  Then I added a 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar.  I'd bet that you could use 1/4 of white vinegar ; 1/4 cup apple vinegar or even try adding in lemon juice as a substitute for one of those.  I'm sure I'll be experimenting with those as I probably won't buy the red wine vinegar again.

I then finely diced a small shallot and added it to the mixture.

I snipped about 10 tarragon sprigs, took the leaves off, finely chopped them and added them as well. 

I brought this to a simmer.  Watch out, the vinegar is a bit tough on the eyes so I let it be for about 10 minutes until there was only about 2 tablespoons of liquid left.  I took it off of the heat and pushed the shallots and tarragon off to one side so the juice would run out to the other side.

Take another small pan and put it on the hot burner.  Melt about 5-6 tablespoons of butter.

Separate 3 jumbo eggs.  You'll need the yolks for the sauce but save the whites for something else - an omelet, an egg wash, etc. 

Once the vinegar mixture is cooled, add it to the eggs.  If you want to add the shallots and all, feel free!  I personally like my Bearnaise sauce smooth but if you like a bit of chunk in there, add in those shallots.  They're nice and tender as is the tarragon so it would go nicely. 

Grab about 10 more sprigs of tarragon and chop the leaves.  Only do the leaves as the stems are tough and not edible.  If you end up using the shallot and tarragon mixture, you probably won't need to use as much tarragon here.  Maybe just half.  You can taste as you go along.  Tarragon has an anise or liquorice taste to it so it can get quite strong.  Better to start off with a little and add more than have it be too powerful.  I love it so I just add it in.

Add the chopped tarragon to the egg mixture. 

Start a double boiler (one pan has water in it heating and another bowl (with the egg yolk mixture) sits on top).  While that's heating, start whisking the egg mixture to get it going.  When it's starting to get nice and foamy, put it on top of the steaming hot water.  Don't boil the water.  I made that mistake last night.  I was so focused on whisking, whisking, whisking, that I didn't notice the water bubbling and my eggs started to scramble.  I pulled it off of the water just in time!  You just need the water to be hot and steaming to cook the eggs enough but not scramble them.  As this is all going on, drizzle in the butter a tablespoon at a time.  I used about 3-4 tablespoons.  You'll see the mixture start to turn light yellow instead of the dark color it was when you started.  I actually beat mine a bit too long which just made it more like a mayo than a sauce but I think if I'd added that last bit of butter and stirred - not whisked it, it would've been perfect.  It was damn good though and went great with the steaks off of the grill.  Give it a taste.  I added a good pinch of salt and stirred it again and that was all there was to it!  I got 4 small dish servings (2-3 tablespoons each) out of it.

Let me tell you about the rest of my meal.  I grabbed some steaks earlier in the morning and brought them home.  My standard marinade is A1 and Worcestershire sauce.  I put on the A1 first - enough to cover one side.  Spread it on to cover and then add some dashes of Worcestershire.  The A1 is thicker so it holds the Worcestershire sauce on.  If I have some Montreal Steak seasoning, I add that.  If not, I just add pepper.  Do this on all sides.  Put the steaks back in the fridge until an hour before you cook them.  Sit them out so that they're not so cold.  That let's them relax before tossing them on the grill and will make them more tender in the long run.

For the potato, scrub them with a brush and dry them really good.  Even if you have to let them sit out a bit to let them air out, do it.  Moisture is what kills a great baked potato.  Once dry, put a bit of oil (canola, veggie, etc.) on them.  Just enough to spread around.  You could also use non-stick spray.  Then sprinkle with salt all over.  The salt draws the moister from the potato which makes it nice and fluffy on the inside when you bake it.  And the oil gives is a bit of a crispness on the outside.  Wrap them in tin foil.

Next was the corn.  Take scissors and cut off the loose pieces of the husk so it nice and smooth on the outside.  Carefully peel back the outside layer enough to pull all the silt out - just like you would a banana but leave it all attached.  Once the silt has been removed, put the husk back in place.  Find something to secure the husk.  I have some silicon rubber bands that I use.  You could try some kitchen string or even a twist tie from a loaf of bread.  Once secured, soak the corn, husk and all in water.  I just use a bowl and every so often flip them so both side get soaked.

My steak topper was baby bella mushrooms and onions.  I'd saved some of my bacon grease from the morning's breakfast and put it in a cast iron skillet.  I sliced and diced the mushrooms and onions to get them ready.

When the grill was ready, I first put the potatoes on at a low to medium head in the corners of the grill.  About 15 later, I put the corn on the top rack and flipped the potatoes.  Bring the water out with you.  If the corn looks like it's getting too crispy, splash a bit of water on it and close the lid to continue the steaming of it.  15 more minutes and add the steaks.  When the steaks are ready to be flipped, flip the corn and potatoes and add the mushroom and onion mixture pan to the grill.  When the steaks are done, it's all done!  I added some of that leftover bacon from breakfast on my potato along with a bit of cheese, some fresh chives, butter and sour cream.  A meal in itself really!  Top the corn with butter and sit down to a great meal.

Don't forget the homemade Bearnaise on the side!

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