Beurre Blanc – literally ‘white butter’ is a beautifully delicate sauce which is perfect with fish and green vegetables. Although great left plain, adding fresh herbs just before serving gives the sauce an aromatic punch – ideal for stronger fish such as salmon.
Think béarnaise without the egg and with a little dash of cream. The secret to a great Beurre Blanc is the white wine and vinegar base, reduced down with a little shallot and lots of fresh herbs – it is what gives the sauce body and character. If a base lacks acidity this will be amplified when the sauce is ‘thinned’ with butter. Use a decent quality dry white and be liberal with the herbs and vinegar and you shouldn’t go far wrong.
Beurre Blanc was the ultimate accompaniment to salmon and braised leek – I only wished I had some fresh bread to mop up the remaining sauce!
For the Base: 300ml Dry White Wine, 4tbsp White Wine Vinegar, 1 Shallot Thinly Sliced, 8 Black Peppercorns, 1 Bay Leaf, 2 Thyme Sprigs, Small Handful Flat Leaf Parsley , 1 Strip Lemon Peel, 60ml Double Cream
To Finish: 225g Unsalted Butter Cubed, 1tsp Chopped Chives, 1tsp Chopped Tarragon, 1tsp Chopped Dill, White Pepper, Salt
1) Make the base by combining all of the ingredients except the double cream in a small saucepan. Place over a medium/high heat and simmer until reduced to 2 tbsp of liquid (around 20/30 minutes). Add the cream and simmer over a medium heat until reduced by half. The base can then be kept in the fridge for a day or so if making in advance.
2) To finish the sauce: Warm the base mixture over a low heat. Whisk in the butter cube by cube, keeping the heat low and allowing each cube to nearly melt before adding the next. Strain the mixture into a clean pan. Keep warm. Just before serving stir through the fresh herbs and season to taste.