What is more romantic than cooking for your special someone and leaving them speechless? We invited Lavelle‘s executive chef Romain Avril, one of the most talented and down-to-earth chefs in Toronto, to help us make a classic béarnaise sauce that will leave a lasting impression this Valentine’s Day.
What is béarnaise? One of the most important sauces in traditional French cuisine, making béarnaise is a skill every home cook should master.
This sauce completed the first dish Romain cooked for his now fiancée Christina, so it holds a special place in his heart. We can see why she said yes!
Here, Romain has served it with deliciously cooked tenderloin, brussel sprouts cooked with bacon in a Staub, the smoothest pomme purée, and mushrooms with tarragon. It also pairs deliciously with one of our favourites, steak frites.
Here is what you’ll need to make this sauce:
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes
- 3 tablespoons of minced shallots
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons of champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon (or more) of fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh tarragon
- Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.
- Add shallots and a pinch of salt and pepper; stir to coat.
- Stir in vinegar, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until vinegar is evaporated, 3-4 minutes.
- Reduce heat to low and continue cooking shallots, stirring frequently, until tender and translucent, about 5 minutes longer.
- Transfer shallot reduction to a small bowl and let cool completely.
- Meanwhile, fill a blender with hot water to warm it; set aside.
- Melt remaining 1 cup butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until butter is foamy. Transfer butter to a measuring cup.
- Drain blender and dry well.
- Combine egg yolks, lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon of water in a dry blender.
- Purée mixture until smooth.
- With blender running, slowly pour in hot butter in a thin stream of droplets, discarding milk solids at bottom of measuring cup.
- Continue blending until a smooth creamy sauce forms, 2-3 minutes.
- Pour sauce into a medium bowl.
- Stir in shallot reduction and tarragon and season to taste with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice, if desired.
P.S. You can totally do this ahead of time! The pressure is already on 100, so prepping saves you so much time you could be spending in the company of your special someone.
Tip: Make this 1 hour ahead and before serving, turn the stovetop back on and voila! The perfect sauce to accompany your Valentine’s Day meal!
If for whatever reason, you end up burning anything or everything (let’s hope that doesn’t happen), you can head to Lavelle where Chef Romain Avril will take care of you!
Happy Love Day, Lovers!