Feb 20, 2010

beurre blanc

Tonight I made Steamed Sole with Beurre Blanc. When I close my eyes I'm still thinking of it. A simple white fish (I think, I never make fish so I don't know for sure) and uber yummy butter wine sauce. I mean really, can that be bad. Um, all you non-fish eaters (like my hubby) don't answer that. Lets just say I was in lala land with this dinner. No pictures tonight, though I got enough fish to make it again tomorrow and will plan to snap up a couple. Looking at the recipe it seemed like it would be kind of bare on its own so I made it with wild rice and a simple salad on the side.

Would I do anything different next time. No, I thought it was just right, and pretty quick once the sauce was made. And I finished the night with some "no-fail chocolate chippers" from a bon appetit recipe that I made last night, a glass of white wine and that move The Waitress with Keri Russell. It was on TV and I'm a sucker for any movie where there are baked goods and romance involved.

beurre blanc (warm butter sauce)
from The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters

2 shallots, diced fine
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup dry white wine
a few black peppercorns
a pinch of salt
14 tablespoons butter (1 3/4 sticks), cut into small pieces (I used 13 T. and don't really think it made any difference)

Bring to a boil in a small heavy-bottomed pot the shallots, vinegar, wine, peppercorns, and salt. Cook until the liquid is almost completely gone, reduce the heat as the liquid cooks down. Remove from the heat when the shallots are still moist but not floating in liquid. (Note: the recipe says that this can be done far in advance.)

Put the pan on very low heat and bit by by whisk in each piece of butter. Wait until each addition is mostly melted and incorporated before adding more (this took the most time, but was well worth the effort). The sauce should be warm while the butter is being added but not to hot or to cool, or it will separate, so be sure to monitor the heat. Once all the butter has been incorporated, taste for salt and add more as needed. Thin with a splash of fresh wine, some broth, or even water; the added liquid helps keep the sauce from breaking or separating and makes it lighter.

Strain if desired. Serve immediately or keep warm in a double broiler over warm, but not hot, water, or in a warmed thermos. (I put mine in a glass bowl, quickly rinsed out the pot that it had been cooked in, put a couple inches of water in the pot and then put that back on the stove on low-medium heat. I placed the bowl full of sauce over the simmering water while I cooked my fish, and had no separation issues.)

If anyone has any suggestions for other uses for beurre blanc please do send them along. I'll have to do some research. It seems like a very Julia Child thing to make so I should probably start there.

happy cooking...

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