Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Luscious Lemony Beurre Blanc Sauce

Beurre Blanc is one of the great classic French sauces. It's perfect with freshwater fish, shellfish or with a plate of steamed vegetables, especially asparagus. The only drawback of course, is the calories. It's made mostly with butter — it's French! Thanks goodness a little bit goes a long way. 

Beurre Blanc is a delicate butter-based emulsified sauce with a light silky texture and rich lemony butter flavour, and a lovely sauce to have in your repertoire. Other ingredients can be added such as tarragon, chives, or dill for an additional flavour boost. One of my favourite recipes when guests are expected is Salmon with Beurre Blanc & Chives. It's simple, straight forward and most of the prep work can be done ahead of time. Perfect.

Lemon Beurre Blanc

1 tbsp shallots, very finely chopped
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1½ tbsp dry Vermouth
1½ tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
½ cup whipping cream
1 cup unsalted butter
salt and white pepper to taste

Combine shallots, vinegar, Vermouth and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Cook over high heat until most of the liquid has evaporated 1-2 minutes. Add cream and cook over medium heat and reduce until thickened. Remove from the heat, cover and set aside until required. When you're ready, gently reheat the mixture, add the butter, salt and white pepper, and whisk until the butter has melted. Add any herbs you'd like to use (tarragon, chives or dill) and combine gently just prior to serving. Spoon a small portion of Beurre Blanc onto each warmed serving plate and place the grilled fish or vegetables on top. Garnishing the final dish with microgreens or a sprig of the herb used in the sauce is a nice finishing touch.

Makes 1 cup

Crisp Pan-Seared Salmon 

1 tbsp olive oil
4 6-ounce centre cut salmon filets, at least 1" thick or more
Maldon Salt
Pepper, fresh ground

Season the salmon on both sides with salt and pepper. Place a sauté pan over high heat. When a drop of water skittles on the surface, add the oil. Tilt the pan to coat the bottom evenly and heat the oil until almost smoking about 30 seconds. Sear each salmon filet skinned side up until it's golden brown about 4 minutes. Flip the salmon over, lower the heat to moderate and sear until just cooked, about 3-4 minutes longer. 

To serve, spoon some beurre blanc on a warmed dinner plate. Place a row of sauteed fingerling potatoes or roasted asparagus in the middle of the plate, then place a pan-seared salmon filet on top. Garnish with micro greens or whole chives if you wish. Repeat with each place setting. Serving immediately. Yum-yum.

Serves 4 as a main course