Classic French White Butter


This is the recipe I used when learning to make the sauce under the tutelage of my chef aunt Claire Robert. This formula is the Anjou-Touraine beurre blanc containing some white wine; the Nantes butter would be prepared entirely with vinegar.

This pairs well with yellow or walleye pike, shad, all trout, steelhead, Arctic char, salmon, and any shellfish from shrimp to crab, lobster, and scallops.

Makes 1 cup

1/3 cup white wine vinegar or cider vinegar
1/3 cup dry white wine, preferably Muscadet or California Fume Blanc
2 large shallots, very finely chopped
1/3 teaspoon salt or to taste
Pepper from the mill
3/4 to 1 cup unsalted butter or to your personal taste
1 tablespoon buttermilk (optional)

Reduce the vinegar, wine, shallots, salt, and pepper in a saucepan over medium heat to 1/4 cup of mixed solids and liquids. Remove the pot from the heat. Cool the mixture to 140 degrees F. Return the pot to extremely low heat and whisk in the butter tablespoon by tablespoon. If used, whisk in the buttermilk until it disappears into the sauce. Strain into a sauce boat heated to lukewarm. Serve immediately.


The New Making of a Cook
The Art, Techniques, and Science of Good Cooking
by Madeleine Kamman
William Morrow
Oct. 1997, $40 hardcover
Recipe reprinted by permission.


The New Making of a Cook

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Copyright © 1998—the electronic Gourmet Guide, Inc. All rights reserved.

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