Step by Step; How to Make Beurre Blanc Sauce
This post is part 3 in a series on emulsified sauces. To read part 1 which covers history and how to make Hollandaise Sauce, go here. Part 2 is all about How to Make Homemade Mayonnaise.
Beurre Blanc is a creamy butter and white wine sauce (literal translation “white butter”) which is emulsified without the use of eggs. In this sauce, the fat of the butter is suspended in a reduction of wine and vinegar, often aided with a small amount of cream.
The tang of wine and some sort of acid (vinegar or citrus) does not disappear with the addition of butter. It simply enhances the flavor of anything paired with it. Beurre blanc is a perfect pair for seafood and the addition of a bit of mustard makes it an excellent companion for beef or pork.
In the photo below, the sole was dredged in flour, sauteed in butter, and then topped it with this tangy sauce. Beurre Blanc also does well with poached salmon, halibut, scallops, and shrimp. The sauce is very flexible; consider adding fresh herbs, citrus juice and/or zest, capers, whole grain mustard, green or pink peppercorns to change up the flavors.
Like other warm emulsified sauces, Beurre Blanc’s weakness is heat. Never let the sauce come to a boil and always whisk in very cold butter, a small amount at a time over a very low heat. As mentioned above, a small amount of cream added before the butter can be a stabilizing factor.
Sauteed Sole with Beurre Blanc
- 1 tablespoon minced shallot
- ¾ cup white wine
- ¼ cup white wine or champagne vinegar
- 1 tablespoon cream (optional)
- 12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) unsalted cold butter
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon white pepper
- In a small heavy bottomed sauce pot, add the wine, vinegar and shallots.
- Cook over medium heat to bring the liquid to a simmer then reduce the heat to low.
- Simmer on low until the liquid is reduced to a syrup. Take care not to allow it to burn near the end of the reduction.
- Whisk in the cream. Then slowly whisk in 1 tablespoon of cold butter, one at a time, until it is all incorporated and the sauce is a creamy emulsion.
- Season to taste with the salt and pepper. If you prefer a smooth sauce, strain out the shallots.
- Serve immediately or keep warm for up to an hour over a double boiler.
Options for additional flavors for the Beurre Blanc; fresh herbs, citrus juice and/or zest, capers, whole grain mustard, green or pink peppercorns.