Main course

Entrecôte béarnaise

Béarnaise sauce is a classic accompaniment to grilled meats, and is considered to be a daughter sauce of hollandaise. It was invented shortly after the end of the French Revolution by chef Jean-Louis Françoise-Collinet. The sauce was first served at the opening of Le Pavillon Henri IV on the outskirts of Paris in 1836. The naming theory for the sauce comes from the idea that Henri IV of France, whom the hotel was names after, was from Béarn.

Le Pavilion Henri IV

The recipe given here uses a sauce recipe from Institut Paul Bocuse Gastronomique, and a reverse-seared steak recipe from J Kenji López-Alt (see recipe notes).

Le Pavilion Henri IV can be found at 19–21 Rue Thiers, 78100 Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France. Call +33 1 39 10 15 15 for a reservation.

Entrecôte béarnaise

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Serves: 2
Cooking Time: 20 mins


  • For the sauce béarnaise:
  • 150ml red wine vinegar
  • 3 shallots (or 1 banana shallot) finely chopped
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns, cracked
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 150g butter
  • Small bunch of fresh tarragon, chopped
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • For the meat:
  • 2 ribeye steaks (the thicker the better)
  • 2 tbsp neutral oil
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


To prepare the sauce:


This is prepared essentially as a flavoured hollandaise.


Heat the vinegar in a saucepan and add the shallots and cracked peppercorns. Reduce until almost all the liquid is gone. Cool the vinegar mixture a little.


In another pan, heat the butter until it foams, skim and allow to cool a little.


Warm some water in a sauté pan and dip the vinegar pan in it to make a bain marie. Add the egg yolks and whisk over gentle heat into ribbons (zabaglione consistency).


Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk the butter in little by little, ensuring that all the butter is incorporated into the emulsion with every addition.


Sieve the sauce into another pan and press as much of the shallots through the sieve with a spoon as will go.


Add the chopped tarragon.

To cook the steak:


Preheat an oven and a grill pan with a wire rack to 130˚C.


Push a heatproof culinary wired thermometer into the centre of the steak (see notes) and season liberally on both sides. Note that the original recipe suggests that the steak is seasoned and chilled uncovered overnight to dry out a bit.


pPut the steak in the oven on the wire rack, trap the thermometer wire in the oven door and connect it to the measuring unit. Cook the steak until the internal temperature reaches 10˚C below your desired doneness. For medium-rare, this is about 46˚C. If your steak is less than an inch thick, you want to be stopping at about 41˚C.


While the steak is cooking heat the oil in a frying pan until it is so hot it smokes and sets off the fire alarm.


Quickly throw the butter in the hot pan and add the steak. Cook for 45 seconds on each side with constant basting. Pull the steak out and serve – resting is not required.

To serve:


Very gently warm the sauce in the bain marie, taking care not the scramble the emulsified eggs.


Either pour the sauce over the steak or serve it in a small jug on the side. It's nice to add another sprinkling of chopped, fresh tarragon over the top.


This recipe uses the principle of a reverse-seared steak. Doing a steak this way requires a heat-proof temperature probe. If you don't have this gear, just cook the steak in your favourite manner.

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