Sometimes you just need to tuck into a big, thick, juicy piece of steak. Do I hear an ‘Amen’? I don’t do it very often – in fact it’s pretty rare that I go and buy a steak. But when the craving strikes, nothing else will do.
Now usually I just season steak with a little salt and pepper but, inspired by recent episodes of My Kitchen Rules (now you know my favourite reality TV programme!) I rather fancied a little sauce to slather on top. A quick internet search later brought up Jamie Oliver’s recipe for Béarnaise Sauce which, you can take it from me, is a goodie. It makes just enough for one person (actually I think it’s good for two) and, given I wasn’t up for sharing my steak with anyone, it suited me perfectly. And, while Jamie doesn’t include any tips for cooking the steak, here’s a wonderful video from Gordon Ramsay demonstrating how to make a perfect steak, complete with herbs and garlic seasoning. I’d recommend though, that you simply season your steak with salt and pepper if you’re going to add this rich sauce.
Finally, just a word of caution: This sauce can be a little tricky – you need to take your time with it. Be careful not to overheat the butter (or it will burn), or the egg mixture (which will curdle). And you’ve got to whisk it all for a fair whack of time to emulsify the mixture, so whisk until your arm threatens to drop off. Enjoy!
STEAK WITH BÉARNAISE SAUCE
- 1 quality beef steak of your choice
For the Sauce:
- 125 g unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar or cider vinegar
- 1 small shallot, finely chopped
- 4 peppercorns
- 4 tarragon sprigs
- 2 egg yolks
- A squeeze of lemon
- A few chervil sprigs, finely chopped
- Clarify the butter by melting slowly in a pan over a low heat. The milk solids will rise to the surface as foam; skim this off and continue to cook until there’s no more foam. Strain through a sieve lined with kitchen paper and leave to cool.
- In a small pan, heat the vinegar with the shallot, peppercorns, 2 tarragon sprigs and 1 tablespoon of water. Simmer gently till the liquid has almost evaporated.
- Whisk in the egg yolks and keep whisking over a very low heat until the yolks emulsify and thicken, about 3–5 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and add the clarified butter in a thin stream, whisking continuously till you have a thick sauce.
- Pass through a fine sieve and discard the solids. Add a squeeze of lemon and season to taste.
- Finely chop remaining tarragon and add to the sauce with the chervil (if using). Set aside.
- Fire up the griddle and cook your steak the way you like it (see Gordon Ramsay’s video link above for a helpful demonstration). Fry it on high heat for 3-6 minutes each side, depending on how well done you like it, then take it off the heat and let it rest for 3-5 minutes (which makes it juicy and tender). Slather over the sauce and enjoy with salad and chips!