Sunday, October 24, 2010

I'm Saucy - Mastering the Beurre Blanc - Inspired By Blue Ribbon All American

{Salt and Pepper Shrimp}

{Halibut in a Beurre Blanc Sauce with sundried Tomatoes, 
a side of Mashed Potatoes and Collard Greens}

Blue Ribbon All American's Salt and Pepper Shrimp were the perfect appetizer to cut the creaminess of the Halibut with the Buerre Blanc Sauce. I highly recommend them. The shrimp have a natural sweetness that is contrasted beautifully by the Saltiness of the ginger soy sauce, the salt and the black pepper.

The Halibut was flaky and cooked to perfection. You can see the nice browning on the fish that gives a wonderful crunch. The halibut crumbled with the slightest touch from the fork and the beurre blanc sauce coated each delectable bite. The collard greens added a nice freshness and the sun dried tomatoes added a tart acidic note to the dish. The fluffy mashed potatoes coated my mouth and the only way I can describe it is with this song by Sade.

Overall this dish's subtle glam and light comfort had me craving more and more. But if you can't get to Blue Ribbon All American you can replicate this dish at home. Because sometimes it's necessary to get a little saucy.

Mastering the Beurre Blanc Sauce

Like most culinary traditions the origins of beurre blanc sauce are not entirely agreed upon. One popular train of thought says that chef Clémence Lefeuvre (née Clémence Prau) was preparing a complex dish for a head of state, and she accidentally left both the egg and the tarragon out of the bernaise sauce she was making. Since she did not have time to fix the food, she sent it out as is, and much to her surprise, the dish was huge a success. 

A traditional beurre blanc sauce, meaning "white butter in French", starts by reducing very finely minced shallots in an acidic solution like vinegar, lemon juice, or white wine.  You can also switch it up and make a buerre rouge sauce by adding red wine or vinegar instead of white. 

Once the acidic reduction is made, chunks of slightly softened butter are added and briskly whisked in. It is important to reduce the sauce first and then add in the butter so you can make a stable emulsion. You want to whisk the sauce rapidly, so you can create as many small air bubbles as possible in the sauce so it disperses the fat therefore, creating a delicious sauce that will hold up well. Beurre blanc sauce is usually used immediately, and cooks differ on whether or not to strain it.

Some cooks add cream to their beurre blanc sauce, to keep it stabilized for a longer period of time. This deviation from the traditional ingredients can not technically be called a beurre blanc sauce, since the cream dramatically changes the composition and texture of the sauce but is common practice in restaurants with long dinner services. Other ingredients such as tarragon or dill can be added as well, for additional flavor.

To make a basic beurre blanc sauce, use two thirds of a cup of wine, vinegar, lemon juice, or some combination of these ingredients. Heat it on a medium temperature setting along with two finely chopped shallots until the volume of the liquid has been reduced to approximately one quarter of a cup. Allow the mixture to cool before placing it over low heat and quickly whisking in three quarters to one cup of unsalted butter broken into chunks. Strain, if desired, and add salt and pepper to taste.

Below is a great and in depth video describing how to make the perfect beurre blanc sauce.

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