Tantalising Beef Fillet Bearnaise
For the bearnaise:
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
5 peppercorns, crushed
2 fresh tarragon sprigs (plus 1 tbsp chopped leaves)
3 large free-range egg yolks
250g unsalted butter, melted and skimmed
crushed sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the steak:
15g unsalted butter
1tbsp olive oil
4 x 175g beef fillets (preferably Devon Red)
crushed sea salt
1. For the bearnaise, pour the vinegar into a saucepan, add the peppercorns and tarragon sprigs. Bring to the boil, and simmer for 2 minutes until reduced by half. Remove from the heat, strain and set aside.
2. Warm the melted butter in a saucepan. Remove from the heat, and set aside.
3. Place a heatproof mixing bowl over a large pan of simmering water. The base of the bowl should not be in contact with the water. Add the egg yolks and reduced wine vinegar and whisk together vigorously with an electric hand whisk or balloon whisk until the mixture forms a foam (make sure it doesn't get too hot).
4. Slowly whisk in a small ladleful of warmed butter (go slowly so the sauce base doesn't split or curdle. If it does, then whisk in a teaspoon of boiling water to bring it back together. Repeat until all the butter is incorporated, and the sauce is as thick as mayonnaise.
5. Finally, whisk in the sea salt and black pepper to taste, stir in the chopped tarragon and remove from the heat, setting over the pan of hot water to keep warm.
6. To cook the steak, melt the butter and oil in a large, non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Season with crushed sea salt, add to the hot pan and brown on both sides. Cook to the desired stage: 2-3 minutes on each side for rare, 3-4 minutes on each side for medium, 5-6 minutes on each side for well done. Remove from the pan and leave to rest for 5 minutes, keeping warm.
7. Arrange the fillets on warmed serving plates, and spoon over the bearnaise.