My husband came home today and told me how his yearly Army physical went.
“My cholesterol is okay. Could be better, but it’s nothing to fret over just yet.”
“Okay,” I said to myself, “Let’s make a sauce that has a pound of butter in it for dinner!”
I really don’t want to give my husband a stroke. I promise. It’s just, beurre blanc sauces are amazingly good over fish, and fish is what I had planned for dinner. No need to place me on a watch list, there’s no conspiracy.
Beurre blanc is French for “white butter”. It’s essentially a hot butter sauce that’s been flavored by any number of ingredients, most commonly an acidic liquid (such as lemon juice or vinegar). The key to making a luxurious beurre blanc is to create a homogenous emulsion of the reduction and the butter. We do this by adding the butter in small amounts and whisking our hearts away.
Beurre blancs are the perfect accompaniment for Lean fish such as cod, flounder, sole, halibut and orange roughy, because the silky, rich sauce imparts a burst of flavor to an otherwise bland fish. Here, we’re using the highly-popular Atlantic cod in a loin cut. This supple sauce is also interchangeable in its flavor profile. One’s imagination is the only limitation to what essence the sauce will take on. Explore your local market to see which vinegars are available. Think of which flavors and tastes appeal to you. Experiment. You may discover the next “big thing.”
A definition before we begin- I: means to cook just until it looks like it’s going to evaporate into oblivion. It should look like a dollop of jelly. This is the fortified result of cups of liquid being boiled down to a rich, full-bodied reduction. You’ve evaporated the water in the liquid to create a syrupy, assemblage of goodness! (I get a little excited thinking of it) Something to remember when using wine- or any other alcohol for that matter- always cook with a wine you would drink from a glass. In the case of this sauce, you are concentrating a liquid drastically, so the last thing you’d want is a intensification of nasty wine.
Make your version and post a pic here. Feel free to comment as well!
- 4 4 oz pieces of cod (not salted cod) skinned, deboned and filleted
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1 cup white wine (Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc or Riesling)
- 1 cup white wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp shallots, minced
- 1 tbsp heavy cream
- 1 lb unsalted butter, cut into 1" pats
- 1½ tbsp grated orange peel
- 1½ tbsp grated lemon peel
- 1½ tbsp grated lime peel
- salt and pepper, to taste
- On a plate or platter, place your fish in a single layer. Season liberally with salt and pepper on both sides and set aside while you prepare the sauce.
- In a medium-size saucepan over med-high heat, combine the juices, wine, vinegar and shallots. Bring to a boil over med-high heat and cook until au sec, whisking occasionally.
- As the water begins to evaporate, the liquid will become more viscous. Continue to whisk to prevent the liquid from scorching on the bottom of the pan.
- Close to the end of the reduction process, the concentrated liquid will have a pungent smell and will begin to look like syrup. Keep whisking!
- Once the liquid is au sec, add the heavy cream and the butter, two tablespoons at a time.
- Be careful to whisk each addition of butter thoroughly, and until fully melted and incorporated prior to adding the next pat.
- Once all of your butter has been incorporated, strain the sauce and rinse out your saucepan. Return the stained sauce to the clean pan and set it to the back of the stove, over warm heat, to keep hot while you prepare your cod loins.
- Heat the olive oil over med-high heat in a large sauté pan. Once you see ripples forming along the side of your pan, place your fillets in.
- Cook over med-high heat for four minutes per side, or until the fish flakes easily.
- Once your fillets are seared, remove them from the pan and keep warm.
- Serve over wild rice with a side of veg. Ladle the sauce over the top of the fillet.
- Serve immediately.