Classic Buerre Blanc Sauce

This amazing french sauce is one of my favorites both to cook and to eat. It’s a classical french sauce made by simmering shallots in white wine and lemon juice and emulsifying it by whipping in cold butter. It’s very elegant, very versatile, very easy, and very yummy.

Ingredients

  • 2 small shallots, chopped
  • 8 oz of white wine (perferably something dry like a sauv blanc or chardonnary)
  • 4 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon of  heavy cream
  • 6 oz (1 1/2 sticks) of unsalted butter cut into 12 pats
  • Kosher salt and white pepper

Directions

  1. Combine the shallots, wine, and lemon juice in a pan over high heat. Reduce to a couple of tablespoons of liquid.
  2. Add the cream, and when it begins to bubble, reduce the heat to low.
  3. Add the butter one pat at a time. As you whisk eat pat, move the pan back and forth from on and off the heat. You are trying to prevent the sauce from getting above 130 degrees, otherwise it will curdle.
  4. Season with salt and white pepper to taste.

How Not to Screw It Up

  • You don’t need a thermometer. Keeping the sauce under 130 degrees is not rocket science. I’ve found it best to keep the sauce off the heat 3/4 of the time. Add a pat of butter, whisk it in, when it’s almost melted, move the pan over the heat. Back and forth. But, don’t get lazy and add all of the butter at once and keep the sauce over the heat to melt it. Yuck!
  • You can strain the sauce at the end to remove the chuncks of shallot. I only do this if a silky presentation is necessary. Otherwise, it’s perfectly fine to leave them in.
  • Please use white pepper, if you season it with pepper at all. Black pepper looks like specs of dirt in this otherwise, silky clean and elegant sauce.

Where Can I Use This Sauce?

This recipe is all well and good, but you need something to put the sauce over. Here are some ideas:

  • Salmon
  • Any white fish (e.g. Petrale Sole, Tilapia, Halibut)
  • Poached Eggs
  • Asparagus
  • There was an Indian/French fusion restaurant that put it over a dosa (rice flour crepe) stuffed with sauteed peas and potatoes
  • I love to put sauteed spinach down on the plate, lay a white fish over the spinach, and top it all with buerre blanc.
  • A restaurant in St Kilda, Victoria, Australia substituted tangerine for the lemon and made tangerine buerre blanc. Delish.
  • Use your own imagination and leave a comment on this post with how you used it.