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Year of the Sauce:  Week 9

Yes, it’s been a while since I’ve made a sauce.  I’m behind.  First trimester will do that to you.  Now that I’m safely back in the camp of people who can eat foods other than Cheerios and macaroni and cheese, I’m back to making sauces.

Bearnaise is like a sibling to Hollandaise – same base of butter and egg yolks but with a little more flavor.  It’s delicious on asparagus, and probably many other things.  This recipe makes a large batch, so I’m sure I’ll be eating it on several other things in the next couple of days.

Ingredients

1 shallot, minced
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp fresh tarragon leaves (4 sprigs), finely chopped, divided

1 lb asparagus, ends trimmed 1/2″
2 tbsp cooking fat (lard, duck fat, olive oil, ghee)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

3 egg yolks
1 stick butter (or 8 tbsp ghee), cut into 8 pieces
salt to taste

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 450F. In a small saucepan, combine the shallot, vinegar, wine, salt, pepper, and 1 tbsp of the tarragon. Bring to a boil on med-high heat and simmer until reduced to approximately 2 tbsp of liquid, about 4 minutes. Strain the liquid into a metal bowl (or a double boiler insert if you have one) and set aside, discarding the solids. This reduction will be your Béarnaise sauce base (similar to lemon juice’s function when making Hollandaise sauce).

2. Wash and trim the asparagus, then arrange on a baking sheet. Drizzle with your favorite cooking fat (I prefer lard) and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until softened, about 10 minutes.

3. As the asparagus is cooking, let’s finish your Béarnaise sauce using a double-boiler setup. Bring some water to simmer in a saucepan, then place the metal bowl (the one with the Béarnaise sauce base) over the saucepan. You want the bowl to rest on the edges of the saucepan, suspended above the water but not touching it. This will allow you to gently heat the sauce and prevent the egg yolks and butter from separating.

4. Place the metal bowl over the gently simmering water and whisk the egg yolks into the Béarnaise sauce base. Whisk constantly as the yolks slightly thicken but before they solidify, about 20 seconds, then add a piece of butter, continuing to whisk constantly. As the piece of butter is just about melted, add the next piece of butter, and repeat until all of the butter is incorporated. Alternatively, you can use melted butter or ghee, adding in 1/8 of it at a time. Once all of the butter is incorporated, whisk in the remaining tarragon and salt to taste; you should be able to leave it in the double boiler for a couple minutes (stirring often) as you wait for the asparagus to finish, but with any luck it’ll finish at the same time as your veggies.

5. Once the asparagus is done roasting, place it in a serving dish and pour the sauce over it. Serve immediately.

Source:  The Domestic Man
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