I consider myself quite lucky to be living just a five minute walk from one of London’s best butchers: The Butchery. Everything sold there is beautiful, and I am especially fond of their well-aged beef. Today I had a craving for steak, so I went there and bought two gorgeous Hereford ribeyes, about 375g each. The meat was well marbled, but still dense and dark. They smelled of damp wood and mushrooms cooked in fortified wine. I could tell they were going to be awesome.
It occurred to me a while back that pureed corn could be used as a base for a wide range of sauces. One I thought might work particularly well is the classic bearnaise, and now I had a chance to test my hypothesis. I simmered a finely chopped shallot in Meyer lemon juice and the brine from a can of corn along with salt and pepper. When the shallot was soft and the liquid had reduced, I added the corn along with a good knob of butter and just enough water to cover. I simmered the corn until tender, then pureed it with a stick blender, and passed it through a fine sieve. The starch from the corn emulsified the butter and the liquid ingredients instead of the usual egg, and the end result was velvety smooth, if slightly pasty. I added finely chopped tarragon just before reheating the sauce to serve.
I fried the steaks with minimal oil for about 8 minutes. They had a wonderful brown crust and a pink, juicy interior. The corn bearnaise was an excellent stand in for the real McCoy, with the sweetness of the corn approximating that of butter. The tarragon completed the illusion. It was very tasty indeed, although the sauce is probably better suited to chicken than beef. At any rate, whether you call it cornaise or corn and tarragon sauce or tarragon creamed corn or whatever, it’s a keeper.