Beurre Blanc

This sauce from the Loire Valley region of France, seems to have a disputed origine. To the people from the Nantes region, this sauce was created by "mistake" by Clemence, cook of the Marquis de Goulaine, that would have forgoten to use eggs while making a bearnaise sauce for a pike dish that she was cooking for the Marquis. Few years later, Clemence opened her own restaurant in Chebuette, a small village near Nantes. It s there, that "la Mere Michel" found out about the beurre blanc recipe before opening her famous restaurant rue de Rannequin (held by Michel Rostang now, helds two Michelin stars) in Paris .
In the other hand, Curnonsky would argue that the beurre blanc comes from a traditional recipe, "le beurre blanc de la Possonniere", charming, little village near Angers.
This sauce is an emulsion of a different type. Here, the air bubbles are added to the fat with the aid of any emulsifier. It makes this sauce very unstable and fragile.
Recipe for 1/4 litre of finished sauce:
  • 3 finely chopped shallots.
  • 2 dl (63/4 fl oz) good dry white wine.
  • 2 tablespoon of white wine vinegar.
  • 4 dl fish court-bouillon.
  • 400g fresh butter, cut in dices.
  • a pinch of cracked pepper.
  • salt and pepper.

In a thick bottom saucepan, put the shallots, cracked pepper, court-bouillon, wine and vinegar. Bring to the boil and allow to reduce until there are only 2 tablespoons of liquid left.

Take the pot of the heat, allow to cool for 4-5 minutes. Then start whisking in the butter. At first, 4 to 5 dices at the time. Then when it starts thickening, place the pot on the stove from to time to time (be careful not to allow it to get to hot) and finish to incorporate the butter.

When finished, set aside in a bain-marie and rectify the seasoning. At this point the sauce cannot boil or even simmer or it is going to split*.

Some chefs would add 1/4 litre of double cream and a pinch of flour to the reduction. They would reduce it by half and then add in the butter. In this manner, the beurre blanc becomes stable and can boil whithout separating.

*If the sauce splits, bring a couple of spoon of water to the boil in a saucepan, take the pot of the heat and start adding the sauce, with a whisk and very little at the time until the sauce has fully come toghether. The other methode is to reduce down a 1/4 litre of cream by half and then start whisking in the splited sauce until it has been fully "recovered".

A good meal ought to begin with hunger.
French Proverb

Suitable for vegetarian, coeliacs, pregnant women.