Steak with Bearnaise Sauce


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!


Serves 1

Ingredients: (Click here for Unit Converter)

1 quality beef steak of your choice

For the Sauce:

• 125g unsalted butter
• 1tbsp 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


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Whisk in the egg yolks and keep whisking over a very low heat until the yolks emulsify and thicken, about 3–5 minutes.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and add the clarified butter in a thin stream, whisking continuously till you have a thick sauce.
  5. Pass through a fine sieve and discard the solids. Add a squeeze of lemon and season to taste.
  6. Finely chop remaining tarragon and add to the sauce with the chervil (if using). Set aside.
  7. 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 fries!

Food Photography Info: Canon 550D (EOS Rebel T2i); Canon 50mm 1.8 lens / Natural lighting


10 thoughts on “Steak with Bearnaise Sauce

  1. That is a fine looking steak and sauce. I never order steak when I go out, I always prefer to cook at home. For the price of 1 restaurant steak, I can feed a family. Besides, I like my steak rare but always feel weird asking for a rare steak.

      1. I really love watching MasterChef NZ and AU. Those shows are full of teaching, friendship, and camaraderie. MasterChef US is all about backstabbing and cutthroat rivalry. Even if the shows down under are scripted (and I find it hard to believe that in the end analysis they are–you can’t fake that kind of real emotion), it says something about what people want to watch in our respective countries. Your blog is the same way. Not a single negative remark. Maybe someday my escape fantasies will come true and I can come live among the civil and the kind.

        1. I know what you mean and all countries have their characteristics. Kiwis tend to be unassuming and afraid to rise above the rest, which of course can be charming but there are downsides to that too. But yes, in general, while there are plenty of exceptions, I think Australasians are pretty caring people.

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