But what if you could get the flavor with minimal fuss? Then, you would have this béarnaise compound butter. We’re talking big French flavor with very little effort. And that’s a win-win in my book!
Steve and I love compound butters. I have posted our “go-to” garlic, chive, and parsley compound butter recipe. And though we still love it, I wanted to branch out and try something new. I ran across the béarnaise compound butter in Fine Cooking magazine and decided to give it a shot. It was an instant hit in our house.
The beautiful thing about this compound butter is that it concentrates many aspects of the French sauce without all the par boils and excessive whisking. Compound butters are great on top of a steak or filet of fish. They also make delicious finishing sauces for things like pasta and rice.
Compound butters will keep in the fridge for about a week and can be preserved frozen for 4 to 6 months. For details on how to preserve compound butters, follow this link. I found Farm to Jar’s blog post very helpful when I was poking around online to learn about compound butters.
Let’s make Béarnaise Compound Butter
This recipe makes 4 ounces (1/2 cup) or about 113 grams of compound butter, which is double the original recipe I tried.
Use sweet (unsalted butter), softened to room temperature. And be sure to mince the shallots and fresh tarragon pretty finely. Fresh tarragon has a big presence. We want our compound butter to be flavorful, and not edging towards bitterness. To mince the tarragon, pluck the leaves off the stems and mince only the leaves.
For some guidance on how to easily mince shallots, check out this video.
Melt one tablespoon of the butter in a medium-sized skillet over medium-low heat and add the minced shallot. The original recipe from Fine Cooking recommended adding the discarded tarragon stems to the shallots and removing them when the cooking process is done. I found that I get plenty of tarragon from the minced leaves and don’t need to include the stems in the cooking process.
Cook just until the shallots are translucent, about 2 minutes. Do not let them caramelize or it will affect the flavor of the compound butter.
Add the white wine, the white vinegar, and water to the pan and turn the heat up to medium.
Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has been cooked off. Again, do not allow the butter or the shallots to brown in the pan.
The cooked shallots should look like the picture above. Note, there is no moisture left. What looks like moisture along the edges of the pan is the melted butter first added to the pan.
Set aside and allow to cool completely.
Once the shallots have cooled, add them to the softened butter in a mixing bowl along with the minced tarragon. Mix until the butter is evenly seasoned with the shallots and herbs. I find it easier to use a spatula to press and spread the mixture repeatedly until there are no longer visible streaks of unseasoned butter.
Shape the seasoned butter into a ball, making sure to scrape the bowl cleans as you go.
Then scoop out the ball and place it in the center of a 10-inch or so length of plastic wrap.
With your hands outside the plastic wrap, pack the four sides of the butter in a bit to make a rough brick shape.
Roll the plastic wrap around the butter and, while holding the plastic on each end, spin the butter until it forms a tube and is sealed by the twisted ends of plastic.
Refrigerate the butter until it firms up. Thirty minutes should do it.
Then use it as suggested at the top of this post, on any variety of dishes.
I chose to have mine over a beautifully pan-seared ribeye steak. See, Steve is on the road and I did not want to light up his big grill for just one steak. Besides, I am more familiar with my cooktop and managed an amazing medium-rare final product.
I placed a nice medallion of the béarnaise compound butter on top while the steak was resting. That way, the heat started the melting process that softened the butter and turned it into a beautiful finishing sauce.
I ate this yesterday. And as I am writing and staring at the picture above, my mouth is watering all over again. Yum!
Come on, people. The easy convenience of a compound butter with the sophisticated flavor of a béarnaise sauce! We’ve got a new favorite!
Béarnaise Compound Butter
- 1/2 cup sweet butter, softened 1 tablespoon separated
- 4 teaspoons fresh tarragon, leaves only, finely minced ( .5-ounce store package)
- 4 tablespoons minced shallots
- 2 tablespoons dry white whine
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons water
- Melt one tablespoon of butter over medium-low heat in a medium-sized skillet. Add the shallots and cook, stirring frequently until the shallots are translucent. About 2 minutes. Do not allow the butter or the shallots to caramelize.
- Add the wine, vinegar, and water. Turn the heat up to medium, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has cooked off, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat immediately and allow to cool completely.
- In a mixing bowl, add the remaining butter, the cooled shallots, and the tarragon. Using a silicone spatula, mix thoroughly until the butter is completely seasoned with the ingredients and everything is evenly distributed. There should be no streaks of unseasoned butter.
- Shape the butter into a ball, scraping the sides of the mixing bowl clean, and scoop it onto the center of an approximately 10-inch section of plastic wrap. With your hands outside the plastic wrap, gently pack the 4 sides of the butter mass to shape into a small brick.
- Completely wrap the butter in the plastic wrap until it is somewhat tube shaped. Then, holding the plastic on both ends of the tube, spin the wrapped butter until the tube is more compact and is sealed by the twisted ends of plastic.
- Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until firm.
- Serve slices of the compound butter over steaks, fish, or use to season other dishes such as pasta or rice.