Sauce béarnaise is really a hollandaise that uses a reduction of shallots, vinegar, and wine instead of lemon juice, orange juice, or fish stock. There is a whole family of béarnaise, depending on which additive is used—tomato, meat glaze, or various herbs.

As with hollandaise, the sauce should be made in a noncorrosive saucepan or bowl. Do not try to get the sauce very hot when serving; the food it accompanies (grilled meats, etc.) should be hot and the sauce warm.


  • ½ cup tarragon sprigs, tightly packed
  • cup dry white wine
  • cup white wine vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons shallots, finely chopped
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into tablespoon-size chunks
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground pepper


Stem the tarragon sprigs. Put the wine, vinegar, shallots, and tarragon stems in a stainless-steel or enamel pan and reduce over medium heat by half. Strain and use the liquid with the egg yolks and butter as you would for the hollandaise. Season the sauce with salt and pepper and throw in the tarragon leaves.