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  Bearnaise Sauce
  Category: Sauces
  Author: Chef John V.
  Date: 9/21/2011
  Hits: 628
Makes about 1 1/2 cups


3/4 pound unsalted butter
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 tablespoons white distilled vinegar
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh tarragon (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh chervil (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
2 teaspoons minced shallots
3 egg yolks, from large eggs
Salt to taste
Lemon juice to taste
2 teaspoons parsley, finely chopped
Clarify the butter by melting it in a small pan over low heat. Skim the froth that rises to the surface, then spoon out the clear yellow liquid (clarified butter) without disturbing the layer of whey in the bottom of the pan. Keep the clarified butter warm in a small covered pot, with the heat adjusted as low as possible.

Crush the black peppercorns by rocking a heavy-bottomed saucepan over them.

Simmer the crushed black peppercorns, vinegar, water, tarragon, chervil and shallots in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook the mixture until it has reduced by half. Be careful the mixture will reduce in only a few minutes. Transfer the mixture, without straining, to a stainless steel mixing bowl.

For this next step you may leave the mixture in the stainless steel mixing bowl or transfer it to the top part of a double boiler (as long as it's not aluminum). In a saucepan or bottom half of a double boiler bring 2" of water to a gentle boil over medium heat. Set the mixing bowl or the top part of the double boiler over the water. Add the egg yolks to the bowl. It's important that the water isn't boiling rapidly or the yolks will cook too quickly.

Whisk the yolks continuously with a wire whip until they thicken and take on a white, frothy appearance. When the yolks reach this stage, remove the bowl from over the water and continue whisking for 2 minutes. This gives the yolks a chance to cool a bit and helps prevent accidental overcooking.

Begin whisking the clarified butter, drop by drop, into the egg yolk mixture. To insure a successful emulsion, add the first drops of butter very slowly. Once the eggs have absorbed about 1/4 cup of butter you can begin adding it in a slow steady stream, never stopping the whisking. If the sauce seems to be getting too thick, add a teaspoon of warm water. When you've added all the butter, taste the sauce and season with salt and lemon juice, then stir in the chopped parsley.

For Sauce Choron: Choron is a tomato-flavored version of bearnaise. To make it, follow the bearnaise recipe, adding 1 tablespoon of tomato paste to the vinegar reduction when you add the egg yolks.
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