March 5, 2008

Cooking with Tarragon: Bernaise Sauce

The beef stroganoff I made a couple weeks ago was my first time cooking with tarragon. I was a little leery, at first, because it smells so strongly of black licorice...and I am not such a fan of black licorice. Still, it lent a nice herby--not candyish--taste to the beef stroganoff.

Tarragon is related to wormwood and has the same anise aroma and flavor.

I've noticed that many French dishes call for tarragon, and Nigel Slater uses it often. So, I decided to try another recipe with tarragon since I still had some in the fridge.

I made a Bernaise sauce, Ina Garten's blender version, to go on some seared London Broil:

1/4 cup Champagne or white wine vinegar
1/4 cup good white wine
2 tablespoons minced shallots
3 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves, divided
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 extra-large egg yolks
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted

  • Put the vinegar, wine, shallots, 1 tablespoon tarragon leaves, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the mixture is reduced to a few tablespoons. Cool slightly.
  • Place the cooled mixture with the egg yolks and 1 teaspoon salt in the jar of a blender and blend for 30 seconds.

  • With blender on, slowly pour the hot butter through the opening in the lid.

  • Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of tarragon leaves and blend only for a second. If the sauce is too thick, add a tablespoon of white wine to thin. Keep at room temperature until serving.

Note: To make the sauce in advance, prepare an hour before serving and allow it to sit in the blender. Before serving, add 1 tablespoon of the hottest tap water and blend for a few seconds.


London Broil with Bernaise, spinach, & garlic toasts:
A bad pic, but not a bad sauce.

I will have to try this again, because while the sauce tasted pretty good--buttery & herby-- there were some problems. First, I didn't cool the vinegar mixture long enough (My dinner guests were already here and I was in a hurry), and the heat scrambled the yolks immediately. So, I think my sauce was basically just a seasoned butter, because I noticed all the yolks were cooked at the bottom of the blender. Oh well! Better luck--and more patience--next time!


Nevertheless, after trying two recipes with tarragon and not thinking of only black jelly beans, I am looking forward to trying a few more...I have my eye on Slater's salmon cakes. Until then, I am submitting this post for Weekend Herb Blogging, which is being hosted this week by Anna from Morsels and Musings.


Anna (Morsels and Musings) said...

i feel your pain with the scrambled egg thing. my own impatience has led to a few kitchen disasters too!
i also have an aversion to aniseed flavours and originally avoided tarragon, but i've "gone over to the dark side" and started to like it. especially in soups.
thanks for joining WHB this week!

Anonymous said...

I just had the most amazing tarragon gnocchi the other night. absolutely amazing. I love tarragon.

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Kelly we have been paired for the Taste & Create event. I am enjoying many good choices..we have very similar taste in foods:D This will be fun!!!!

Kalyn Denny said...

Last summer I grew tarragon in my garden for the first time and became absolutely enamored of it. I never liked the dried kind, but fresh tarragon is fabulous. I also love Bernaise sauce, and this sounds great, even if it wasn't perfect for your first try. (Don't chefs take years perfecting the recipe for perfect bernaise?)