The Easy Ingredient Swap For A Quick Béarnaise Sauce

Béarnaise sauce elevates steak dishes, is often served in fine dining restaurants, and is basically just a spin-off of hollandaise sauce, which is one of the five mother sauces in French cuisine (via EHL Insights). In fact, according to The Kitchn, béarnaise sauce is considered the "child" of hollandaise sauce in French sauce culture. 

According to Mad About Macarons, in the 1830's, after experimenting with a shallot reduction, Jean-Louis Françoise-Collinet, the head chef at the Le Pavillon Henri IV hotel in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, made swaps to the traditional hollandaise sauce, using a white wine vinegar reduction infused with shallots, chervil, and tarragon in place for the lemon juice. From there, the béarnaise sauce was born. It still uses egg yolk and butter, but the flavored vinegar adds an acidity that sets the sauce apart and makes for the perfect condiment to beef. The catch is, it's pretty difficult to make. The vinegar reduction takes a while, and once you're ready to incorporate your ingredients, you must work fast.

Both sauces are tricky because you're working with eggs. Traditionally, you're whisking by hand, combining egg yolks with a vinegar reduction over a double boiler, and slowly drizzling melted butter in while whisking. According to Recipe Tin Eats, if you drizzle the butter in too quickly, the sauce will split, and if the heat is too high, the eggs will scramble. In addition, if it's not exposed to enough heat, the sauce won't thicken. 

Is there an easier way?

A.1. sauce to the rescue

If you've got the double-boiler hollandaise method down, but want to skip the fussy step that every béarnaise sauce recipe requires of simmering vinegar in shallots, chervil, and tarragon, simply stir in a little A.1. sauce in its place (via Kitchn). With A.1. already having enough acidity and slight sweetness just like a white wine vinegar reduction would, it's the perfect swap. The outlet also notes that if the taste is not just right, home chefs should simply add more lemon juice and salt until reaching their desired flavor.

My Food and Family, meanwhile, shares a béarnaise recipe that features A.1. sauce, encouraging their readers to turn their beef tenderloin into an A.1.-Béarnaise Chateaubriand. In their recipe, readers are called to add a half cup of A.1. sauce to a mixture of potatoes, butter, parsley, egg, and spices, which is then poured over a 2-pound roast.