Béarnaise sauce is a classic sauce for steak or fish, and it is especially mouthwatering with salmon. The name comes from Béarn, a province in France. It is believed the first Béarnaise sauce was created by the same chef who invented puffed potatoes, and the sauce dates back to 1836. It is often cooked over the gentle heat of a bain-marie.
Use four salmon steaks instead of the salmon filets if you prefer. They should weigh about 5 ounces each. The salmon is seasoned simply with salt and black pepper and grilled over a hot grill for a few minutes. If you do not want to flip the salmon for fear of breaking it, you can simply cover the fish in foil as it cooks and the resulting steam will ensure the top is cooked just as well as the bottom and center. Make sure the fish and the grill are both well-oiled since this will help to stop it sticking.
Serve this with white rice or potatoes, and perhaps with grilled vegetables like zucchini or asparagus. Alternatively a tossed green salad is very nice with this recipe and it means you can make it ahead and not have to keep an eye on vegetables as well as the salmon and sauce.
- 2 lbs salmon filets
- 1½ tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- 1 minced shallot
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh tarragon leaves
- ⅓ cup dry white wine
- 1 tablespoon tarragon vinegar or white wine vinegar
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 3 egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons water
- ½ cup melted butter
- Brush the grill grates with oil to stop the fish from sticking.
- Put the grill rack about 4 inches from the heat source and preheat the grill to very hot.
- Put the vinegar, white wine, minced shallot, tarragon, and black pepper in a small pan.
- Simmer the mixture until it has cooked down by ⅓.
- Let it cool.
- Beat the egg yolks, add the water, and combine this with the cooled vinegar mixture.
- Return it to a low heat and beat all the time with a whisk for 5 minutes or until thick.
- Over the lowest heat, gradually stir in the melted butter, stirring all the time.
- Taste and adjust the seasonings.
- Rub a thin coat of oil over the salmon to discourage sticking.
- Grill the fish flesh side-down for 5 minutes.
- At this point you can flip the salmon over or cover it with foil.
- Grill for another 2 to 3 minutes.
- To check for doneness, cut into the middle using a sharp knife.
- If the salmon appears flakey, it is done.
- Pour the Béarnaise sauce over the salmon and serve right away with your favorite side dishes.
This delicious Béarnaise salmon can be served with grilled asparagus and zucchini like you see in the picture, or with a simple tossed salad. The roasted potatoes are also a good pairing, although white rice works just as well. Béarnaise sauce takes a bit of practice but its unique flavor is really special and it is a good sauce to learn how to make. Once you have mastered the technique, serve this sauce with your next filet mignon or sirloin steak, and see how well it goes with meat too. This recipe features salmon and you can choose from salmon steaks or filets. Both yield fantastic results when grilled.
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