Ingredients for 4 people:
- 4 tablespoons of tarragon vinegar.
- 4 tablespoons of dry white wine.
- 1 oz finely chopped shallots.
- 1 sprig of French tarragon, finely chopped.
- 2 sprigs of chervil, finely chopped.
- 1 teaspoon of cracked pepper.
- 3 egg yolks.
- 175g of clarified butter.
In a pot with a thick bottom, place the wine, vinegar, cracked pepper, shallots, 1/2 the tarragon and 1/2 the chervil and a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil and let it reduce until nearly dry. Here they are two schools, some chefs will strain the pepper and herbs out before adding the yolks other would let them in. Personally, I leave it in.
Take your pot of the heat and add a teaspoon of cold water. Put your egg yolks and start whisking energetically until it has doubled in volume and started to thicken. While whisking you must keep the pot at a constant temperature. Around 55 degrees Celsius (the best test is to put your hand at the bottom of the pot, if it is lukewarm it is too cold and if you burn yourself it is too hot).
At this point, start gradually stirring in the clarified butter. A little tip to make sure that it is not gonna split: make sure that both the temperature of the butter and the eggs are equal.
Finally, add in the rest of the herbs and rectify the seasoning.
"Enchant, stay beautiful and graceful, but do this, eat well. Bring the same consideration to the preparation of your food as you devote to your appearance. Let your dinner be a poem, like your dress."
Charles Pierre Monselet, French author (1825-1888)