Chef Collinet is the creator of the delicious Béarnaise sauce which was made in honour of Béarn, the region of France in which Henri IV was born. It was served at the 1836 opening of Le Pavillon Henri IV, a restaurant at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, not far from Paris. This assumption is supported by the fact that the restaurant was at the former residence of Henry IV of France.
Béarnaise is a rich, thick, warm emulsion sauce, made with egg yolks, vinegar, and ‘monter au beurre’ with clarified butter. Shallots and tarragon, also named estragon, give the typical flavour that differentiates béarnaise from other sauces.
You will need to make clarified butter before starting to make the sauce.
It is difficult to get around this sauce in Belgium. If a restaurant has steak on the menu, it is a certitude that béarnaise will be one of the sauces that is served with it.
Warm up your wrists as you will need plenty of energy for whisking!
For the reduction:
- Combine all ingredients for the reduction in a saucepan and cook until the liquid has evaporated.
- Place a bowl over a bain-marie and whisk the egg yolks together with the water and the reduction.
- Whisk continually until the mixture is thickened and it forms a ribbon. Do not overcook the yolks or they will lose their ability to emulsify the sauce.
- Keep whisking while gradually adding warm clarified butter into the bowl.
- Remove from the heat, season to taste and pass the sauce through a sieve.
- Add the freshly chopped tarragon and chervil to the béarnaise.
- The reduction has a very intense vinegar smell because of the base mixture which is made by cooking herbs and other ingredients in a liquid until complete evaporation.