Beurre Blanc (white wine butter sauce)

Beurre blanc is a classic French sauce made with butter, white wine, and shallots.  I recently made this sauce at a cooking demonstration to prove how important it is to cook with quality wine, and I promised I’d post the recipe.  It’s a very simple sauce to make, and it goes fabulously with fish and shellfish, or simply with pasta and veggies.

This is my own version of Beurre Blanc.  It uses more wine and less butter than traditional recipes, but I love it this way.

In a heavy skillet over medium heat, combine:

2 Tablespoons butter
1/4 cup shallots, finely minced

Season with a bit of salt and let the shallots sweat for about 5 minutes.  Then add:

1 bottle of good quality dry white wine

Let’s chat about wine.  White wines vary so dramatically in terms of flavor.  I like to use Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc, or a primary blend of the two, in this recipe, but you can experiment with your favorite whites.  White Bordeaux are also lovely.  Just don’t use sweet whites or your sauce will taste like dessert.

Raise the heat until the wine is boiling, and reduce the wine until there’s about a cup left.  While the wine is reducing, take:

1 stick of unsalted butter (4 ounces)

Cut it into small cubes and return it to the fridge.  When the wine is reduced, lower the heat to medium low and begin adding the butter to the wine, a few cubes at a time, whisking constantly.  The butter will emulsify into the wine and the sauce will become thick.  You may need to raise the heat a bit, but you don’t want it at at rolling boil or you may burn your butter and your sauce will separate.  A bare simmer is the strongest it should be.  Once all the butter is incorporated into the sauce, remove it from heat.  Add:

1 Tablespoon of a fresh herb, finely minced (thyme is my favorite, tarragon or sage also make lovely beurre blancs)

Then season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and serve immediately!

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