Bearnaise-Style Compound Butter
As a cooking teacher and caterer, I get asked all the time to make food substitutions and accommodations for people with food allergies. I roll with it (sometimes while rolling my eyes) when people make seemingly obscure food decisions like “I’m not eating cinnamon this month” (you’ll be entertained by the number of really strange diets that have popped up in the past few hundred years). But my daughter’s boyfriend suffers from true food allergies. You know, the kind that send a frantic parent to the ER with a two year old who can’t breathe because he is in anaphylactic shock. I’m pretty sure his mom is happy that he’s dating a chef who cooks for him and can help him navigate restaurant menus, and she really does look out for him. When they are at my house, I don’t want to just have food on the side that he can eat, so I work hard to create an actual menu that works for him but will be enjoyed by all.One thing he is allergic to is eggs, and my holiday dinners often have béarnaise sauce on the menu, especially if I’m serving beef or salmon. I could always just make it anyway and he would skip eating it (and never complain I might add), but I don’t want to exclude him. So I came up with this idea to make a compound butter that tastes just like béarnaise sauce, but is sans eggs.The side benefit of doing it this way is that you can freeze leftovers (if you freeze an emulsified butter sauce like béarnaise it won’t hold up). So even if this seems like too much butter for your occasion, make the full recipe so you can keep the rest of another meal. Use this compound butter on anything you would put béarnaise sauce on – beef, chicken, vegetables, or omelets are all good ideas – and make someone happy today.
- 2 sticks butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 1-2 tablespoons very finely minced onion or shallot
- 2 ounces fresh tarragon, chopped (about ⅓ cup)
- Stir all ingredients together in a small bowl until smooth and well mixed. Spoon onto a sheet of plastic wrap and shape into a log about 1 inch in diameter. Wrap well in the plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm. To serve, slice into discs to top steaks or vegetables. The butter may also be served soft in a ramekin for spreading on bread.
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