Are you a saucier? Me, neither. But I live with a Frenchman who likes sauces. So, I’m learning. The only trick is that I don’t tend to be strict in following recipes. So, I like these things that can follow general guidelines and still turn out delicious.
I took a twist on a traditional beurre blanc sauce, by using up some leeks I had pulled from the garden. Beurre blanc — literally translated from French as “white butter” — is a hot emulsified butter sauce made with a reduction of vinegar and/or white wine and shallots into which cold, whole butter is blended off the heat to prevent separation. I, clearly, used white wine. A nice Pinot Grigio from Kirland, which also pairs well with the dish at hand. And, as I didn’t have shallots but did have a heap of leeks, I chopped them thin and sautéed them thoroughly first, getting a bit of a caramelization before adding the wine. This makes for a very different sauce than a traditional one, since the leeks don’t ever quite disappear like shallots would have. But for our purposes tonight, it was lovely.
Butter is essentially a smooth mixture of fat and water. The secret to making a smooth beurre blanc is to preserve its texture by allowing each addition of butter to melt thoroughly as you mix it in, without coming all the way to a boil. So, once the leeks were sautéed and simmered in the white wine, I turned off the heat and added butter a bit at a time until smooth and blended. I topped the whole mess off with the juice of a lemon, and voila! Dinner.
Again, as per normal, I didn’t follow a specific recipe; I just went with the concept of using generally similar ingredients to come up with something resembling a sauce. I will say, the quality of ingredients is important – what comes out is only as good as what went in. I only use organic dairy including butter, and for this sauce I stuck with my go-to, Kerry Gold Irish Butter. Tonight, it was served over a filet of sole and some zoodles zipped up from my new hand-held zoodler. (I also love my Inspiralizer, but stuck with the little one for tonight’s dinner for two – fewer dishes to wash!) Leeks and zukes from the garden, and fresh fish made a lovely, healthy supper.
If you want more specific instructions, I tend to trust whatever Alton Brown tells me is the recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/raymond-beurre-blanc-recipe.html