Beurre blanc sauce is a French hot butter sauce that is said to have been discovered by accident. The chef who invented it was supposed to prepare a béarnaise sauce but forgot to add the egg yolks and tarragon. The new sauce became an instant hit. Whether this story is true or not, beurre blanc is still a delectable sauce that should be included in your repertoire of recipes. It is relatively easy to make and is guaranteed to enhance any fish, chicken, or vegetable dish. Here is a quick guide to help you make it.
- Make an acidic reduction. Finely chop one shallot and place this in a medium-size sauce pan. White onion is a great substitute if you don’t have shallots in your kitchen. Add two thirds of a cup of white wine, and vinegar or lemon juice. You can choose from a selection of white wines like Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, or Chablis. For a more decadent twist, try using champagne instead of white wine. Cook the mixture over medium heat until it boils then turn down the temperature. Continue simmering for about six to 10 minutes or until the sauce has been reduced to about two tablespoons.
- Mix in the chilled butter. Let the reduction cool for a few minutes before putting it back over low heat. If the sauce is too hot when you add the butter, it will break. Gradually whisk in about a cup of chilled butter that has been sliced into small cubes. You can use salted or unsalted butter, but it is advisable to use the latter in order to better control the amount of salt that goes into your sauce. Remove the sauce pan from heat and continue whisking until the butter is fully incorporated. If done correctly, the sauce should be smooth and thick.
- Season the sauce to taste. After whisking in the butter to your reduction, you can season the sauce by stirring in salt and white pepper. Taste your sauce. If it is too sharp, whisk in a few more cubes of butter. If it is too flat, add a little vinegar or lemon juice. You can also accentuate the flavor by mixing in garlic, ginger, or different herbs like dill, tarragon or parsley. Simply chop up the herbs and stir it into your sauce. Strain the finished sauce to remove the shallots and other solids. Pour the sauce over your cooked fish, chicken, or vegetable dish. Serve immediately as you will want it hot.
If you notice that your sauce is becoming oily instead of creamy,
remove the sauce pan from the heat and whisk in additional cubes of cold
butter. If the butter is still separating from the reduction, place the
mixture in the refrigerator for two to three minutes then resume
whisking. Keep the mixture on a warm plate or a mildly heated oven if
you are not going to use the sauce immediately. Another great tip for
keeping the sauce warm is by pouring the sauce into a thermal container.