Clay's Kitchen : Sauce and Stock Recipes

Sauce and Stock Recipes

© Copyright 1995-2017, Clay Irving <clay@panix.com>, Manhattan Beach, CA USA

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Beurre Blanc

Beurre Blanc — literally translated from French as "white butter" — is a rich, hot butter sauce made with a reduction of vinegar or white wine (normally Muscadet) and shallots into which cold, whole butter is blended off the heat to prevent separation. (Lemon juice is sometimes used in place of vinegar and stock can be added as well). This sauce originates in the Loire Valley cuisine.

It is not uncommon to see recipes that include a beurre blanc sauce to which heavy cream has been added as a "stabilizing agent". This is a point of contention amongst many culinary enthusiasts and can be heavily frowned upon. Chef Anthony Bourdain famously wrote in his novel Bone in the Throat: "There is no, I repeat, no, cream in a real beurre blanc ... You see any mention of cream in there? No ... you put cream in there, it ain't a beurre blanc." To be precise: Adding double (heavy) cream to beurre blanc turns it into beurre nantais (Nantes butter).

5 to 6 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
1 cup white wine vinegar, or white wine with a splash of vinegar
1 cup unsalted butter
salt and pepper

Cook the shallot in the vinegar or white wine in a saucepan until very soft and the liquid has reduced to one-third. Cook over low heat, otherwise the liquid will evaporate too quickly. Remove the pan from the heat stir in the butter all at once and whisk briskly until emulsified and creamy. Season with salt and pepperand add a little vinegar and other ingredients if desired.

Sauces Derived from Beurre Blanc

Buerre NantaisAdd a teaspoon of heavy cream (35%) and substitute white Muscadet wine for the vinegar
Beurre RougeSubsitute dry red wine and red wine vinegar for the white wine and white wine vinegar
Lemon Beurre BlancAdd the grated zest for a small lemon into the wine mixture before reducing it
Mustard Beurre BlancJust before serving, whisk in ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard, ½ teaspoon French whole-grain mustard, and fresh lemon juice, to taste


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