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Classic Beurre Blanc

Yield: Yields about 1/2 cup.

Quick to make, a perfect last-minute trick to dress up the simplest foods. Spoon over poached fish, scallops, shrimp, and chicken breasts; drizzle over steamed or grilled vegetables, especially asparagus.


  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 3 Tbs. white-wine vinegar
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, very cold and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper


  • In a small saucepan, combine the wine, vinegar, and shallot. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook until the liquid has reduced to 1 to 2 Tbs. Turn the heat to low and gradually whisk in the butter, piece by piece. The butter must not melt too fast but should soften gradually to form a creamy sauce. Occasionally move the pan off the heat to keep it from getting too hot and continue whisking in the butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste. For a perfectly smooth sauce, strain through a fine sieve. Serve as soon as possible, or keep warm for a short time over warm (not boiling) water.

Beurre Rouge: Make the basic recipe, replacing the white wine and white-wine vinegar with dry red wine and red-wine vinegar.

Lemon: Make the basic recipe, using all lemon juice in place of the vinegar and the wine. Add 1 tsp. grated lemon zest along with the shallot.

Mustard: Make the basic recipe and whisk in 1-1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard just before serving.

Horseradish: Make the basic recipe and whisk in 1 Tbs. drained prepared horseradish just before serving.

Herb: Make the basic recipe and whisk in 1 Tbs. chopped fresh herbs, alone or in combination. Good choices are dill, tarragon, chervil, chives, mint, or basil.


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