One of the great classics! Use French rather than Russian tarragon if you can find it.
If you do not have tarragon vinegar to hand, use a wine vinegar and add some extra chopped tarragon. Boil the first four ingredients together until completely reduced and the pan is almost dry but not browned. Add
If the sauce is slow to thicken it may be because you are excessively cautious and the heat is too low. Increase the heat slightly and continue to whisk until the sauce thickens to a coating consistency. It is important to remember, however, that if you are making Béarnaise sauce in a saucepan directly over the heat, it should be possible to put your hand on the side of the saucepan at any stage. If the saucepan feels too hot for your hand it is also too hot for the sauce.
Another good tip if you are making Béarnaise sauce for the first time is to keep a bowl of cold water close by so that you can plunge the bottom of the saucepan into it if it becomes too hot.
Keep the sauce warm in a bowl over warm water or in a thermos flask until you want to serve it.
© 2001 Darina Allen. All rights reserved.