You may have had it at a high-end restaurant before: delicately baked fish topped off with a decadent French beurre blanc sauce. If that sounds absolutely delicious, and you want to try to recreate that recipe at home, you’ve come to the right place.
One of famous French sauces, the classic beurre blanc sauce recipe is made by mixing white wine with melted butter, until it emulsifies. It is sometimes called the beurre blanc nantais or beurre nantais.
Its rich and creamy flavor makes it a perfect pairing for all kinds of seafood, from crab and lobster, to almost any type of fish. If you are a seafood lover, this is heaven!
Pronounced “burr blã“, beurre blanc literally translates to “white butter” in English. And the best part is that a beurre blanc sauce is rather easy to make at home. If you take melted butter and mix in some wine and eschalots (shallot onions), you’ve got yourself the base of a beurre blanc sauce. So let’s get to it, shall we? Allons-y!
Beurre Blanc versus other sauces
Legend has it that famed French chef Clémence Lefeuvre (née Clémence Prau) in the early 20th century, accidentally prepared this sauce in her restaurant in the Loire Valley by “forgetting” a few ingredients.
The rumor is that she intended to prepare a hollandaise or béarnaise sauce, but forgot to add the egg yolks and the tarragon. (Women never get proper credit, do they?).
The difference in between the sauces is summarized as follows:
- Buerre blanc: sauce made from butter, vinegar or white while, and shallots.
- Hollandaise: sauce made from butter, egg yolk, and lemon juice.
- Béaranaise: sauce made from butter, egg yolk, white wine vinegar, tarragon, and herbs.
As well, the hollandaise is a French mother sauce and similar to mayonnaise, it isn’t all that similar in taste to the beurre blanc. A beurre blanc is usually a sauce reserved for seafood, while the hollandaise and béarnaise can be used on just about anything.
Cooking without alcohol
The traditional beurre blanc recipe is prepared with a dry white wine, usually muscadet from the Loire Valley. However, if you are serving the sauce to children or people who don’t drink alcohol, you may want to skip the wine. In this case, you can replace the wine with an equivalent amount of water, and the vinegar with the juice of half a lemon.
Frequently asked questions
What dishes to serve beurre blanc with?
Beurre blanc is a classic sauce of French cuisine that is traditionally served with seafood like shellfish like shrimp, crab and lobster, or poached fish like pike, salmon, and codfish.
What drinks to serve with it?
A white wine from Burgundy like Côte de Beaune or Chardonnay will be ideal with a beurre blanc sauce served with fish.
Can you freeze it?
No, a beurre blanc has to be served immediately after being prepared, because otherwise the butter will separate from the rest of the sauce. It is best to serve it warm after preparation.
Should you take out the shallot onions before serving the sauce?
No, you do not have to take out the shallot onions before serving. You can strain them out if you don’t like the texture, or leave them in for extra flavor.
- 160g Butter
- 2 small eschalot (shallot) onions
- 1/2 cup of dry white wine (eg. Muscadet from Loire)
- 3 tablespoons of white wine vinegar (or cider vinegar)
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- (Optional) Fine herbs eg. thyme, basil, or parsley
- Peel and chop the eschalots into fine pieces.
- Combine the the minced eschalots in the vinegar and white wine in a small heavy-bottom saucepan
- Cook at a low temperature, until lightly brown.
- Add the butter and whisk vigorously.
- Season to your liking with salt, pepper, and any herbs.
- Serve immediately while warm.
For a non-alcoholic version of beurre blanc, replace the wine with an equivalent amount of water, and the vinegar with the juice of half a lemon.
For a creamier sauce, add a couple of tablespoons of crème fraiche (heavy cream).
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 159Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 43mgSodium: 149mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g
Note: We are not certified nutritionists and these estimates are approximate. Each individual’s dietary needs and restrictions are unique to the individual. You are ultimately responsible for all decisions pertaining to your health. This website is written and produced for entertainment purposes only.
If you enjoyed that, check out our other classic French recipes that are easy to prepare. Bon appétit and à bientôt !
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