03 Jul Special of the day: Al Fresco Dinner Menu
If you’re finding it too hot to fire up the oven and cook in the kitchen these days, head outside and host an al fresco dinner party to please one and all. Splurging on tenderloin steak for kebabs will eliminate the need for marinating and save you time and extra effort. Cut the steak in bite-sized pieces and thread it on metal skewers with fresh mushrooms and sweet onion slices. Cover and refrigerate until ready to grill.
Impress your guests by serving your grilled tenderloin kebabs up in style with homemade Béarnaise sauce. Making the classic sauce is easier than you think, and will even hold for awhile as long as you keep it at a constant temperature.
Meadow Lark Country Club Chef Richard Schafer’s sauce class featured in Special of the day’s June 5th column included helpful how-tos on Hollandaise sauce, and today we’re back with the rest of the story.
A classic variation of Hollandaise is Béarnaise Sauce, an emulsion of butter and egg yolks flavored with herbs, often served over steak, which makes it the perfect sauce to add to your summer recipe repertoire.
If you hesitated to attempt making the hollandaise sauce when it appeared in Special of the day a few weeks ago, fret not, my friend. I’m reprinting some of Chef Richard’s tricks of the trade because I have found them to be rock solid, and of course we want you to be successful and satisfied with the outcome. The how-tos for Hollandaise apply to Béarnaise as well.
Helpful Hints to keep in mind before making your Homemade Béarnaise Sauce from Chef Richard Schafer.
- Crack eggs on a flat surface, not on the edge of a bowl. You will get a better opening and the egg shell won’t shatter.
- Egg yolks and butter should be at the same temperature when you start (about 105-110 degrees)
- Decide on a direction in which to whisk and only whisk that way (either clockwise or counterclockwise) to ensure that the emulsion will hold and not separate.
- Speed is of the essence when making Béarnaise- keep whisking in the butter until completely incorporated.
- You can add hot water to thin your finished Béarnaise if you want to thin it.
- Squeezing just a bit more lemon juice at the end will help bring the protein together in the sauce.
- Keep the finished Béarnaise sauce at about 100 degrees and it will hold for about 3 hours. The important thing here is that it is at a constant temperature. (Keep it on the back of the stove or in a carafe preheated with boiling water.)
While Chef Richard mentioned the method of making Béarnaise, he didn’t offer a recipe, so I went ahead and reduced vinegar, shallots and tarragon and then proceeded as directed in Chef Richard Schafer’s Classic Hollandaise recipe which worked out great. I must admit it required a fair amount of whisking to incorporate all of that butter, but I was determined and remembered to whisk in one and only one direction. My vigilance paid off with a silky smooth beautiful Béarnaise that never separated and served as an amazing accompaniment to the Grilled Tenderloin Kebabs we enjoyed for dinner set up as a buffet with baked potatoes with an array of accompaniments, one of the easiest elegant dinner party menus ever…not to mention, most delicious!
With thanks again to Chef Richard Schafer for the sharing his expertise on sauces, I give you this week’s Special of the day: Al Fresco Dinner party Menu with recipes for Homemade Béarnaise Sauce for Grilled Tenderloin Kebabs. Enjoy!
Food photography by Sydne George.
Recipe based on Chef Richard Schafer’s Classic Sauces Class, Meadow Lark Country Club, May 21, 2013.
Homemade Béarnaise Sauce
Recipe by Sydne George, based on Chef Richard’s Classic Hollandaise Sauce Recipe
Bring ¼ cup dry white wine, ¼ cup white wine vinegar, ¼ cup finely chopped shallots and 1 tbsp. chopped fresh tarragon to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Simmer and reduce until the volume of the liquid in the pan is 2 tbsp.
Whisk 3 egg yolks over a water bath until thickened.
Whisk vinegar reduction into thickened egg yolks.
Whisk in 8 ounces unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon at a time until completely incorporated. Stir every possible area in.
Add the juice of ½ lemon and whisk in thoroughly.
Add 1 tablespoon hot water, a dash of Kosher salt and whisk until completely incorporated.
Squeeze a bit more lemon juice in at the end and whisk thoroughly.
Serve warm over Grilled Tenderloin Kebabs.
Garnish with fresh tarragon sprigs.
Sydne George is a food journalist specializing in recipe development, food writing and food photography. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org . Sydne’s recipes from “Special of the day” are archived at http://sydnegeorge.com/blog/.