One of my Favourite Sauces, Also one of the Fastest and Easiest to Learn - The Perfect Sauce?
Beurre blanc is a great go-to sauce for a dish. It’s excellent on fish, but can be used wherever you please. It’s the fastest sauce to make and it only needs a few ingredients. Beurre blanc is one of my favourite sauces because it can give great flavour to a dish without covering up the natural flavours of what you're eating like a richer sauce, such as demi glace does. While the sauce can contain a fair amount of butter, it doesn't taste heavy or fatty at all. It's light and pleasantly acidic. In the restaurant setting, beurre blanc is often made to order because it's so fast to make and also because it can be a bit of a pain to keep hot and ready to serve for longer periods of time. This means that the customer gets a beautiful, fresh sauce every time, instead of one that's been sitting in a steam table all night, losing it's flavour. Beurre blanc is a wonderful sauce that's quick and easy to make properly.
How to make Beurre Blanc:
- Sweat garlic and shallots or any other desired flavour, like diced celery or bell peppers
Add white wine and fresh herbs of your choice.
Reduce the wine by half. Reducing slowly will give a cleaner, more concentrated flavour.
Add cold, cubed butter and mix until combined. Swirling the butter around the pan is all that’s necessary to emulsify it into the sauce. If too much butter is added, or it’s improperly mixed, the sauce will break and will need to be fixed.
Taste the sauce and add any other seasonings you desire.
Use the sauce immediately, or keep warm in a bain marie, covered by plastic wrap. The sauce will break if it’s heated too aggressively or left sitting uncovered.
Is My Sauce Broken?
It's fairly easy to tell if your sauce has broken. All you have to do is look at it. A broken sauce will have pools of fat floating on the surface, and, if you look closely, you'll see pearls or grains of the other ingredients floating towards the bottom of the container. The sauce broke because there wasn't enough water in the sauce to properly emulsify with the butter. Too much butter may have been added, or some of the water may have simply evaporated. In any case, don't worry. It's easy to fix a broken sauce.
Fix a Broken Beurre Blanc:
- Take a bowl and put a little bit of cold water in the bottom.
- While whisking constantly, slowly pour the broken sauce into the bowl with the water.
- Use immediately or return to heat gently if needed.
It can take a little bit of time to get used to how much butter you need for the amount of wine you have left in the pan, but once you get the hang of it you'll be able to make a butter sauce quickly and with little to no trouble. If you're feeling adventurous, the white wine can be replaced with red wine to make a beurre rouge, which’ll generally go better with richer meats and fish.
Play around with the flavors to find something you like. Personally, my favorite beurre blanc is shallots, garlic, dill, tarragon, lemon and a lot of black pepper to put on salmon. All of the flavours of the sauce complement the salmon excellently, without hiding the fact that it's still salmon. There are cooks who don't use beurre blanc, because they think it's just a simple, throw-away sauce, but the simplest things are often the best. Beurre blanc is such a fast sauce to make and it can give amazing flavour to a dish when it's prepared and used properly. I think that this amazing sauce deserves a spot in everyone's repertoire.
Have any questions about beurre blanc?
I'd love to hear from you in the comments below.