Beurre blanc

This is the contemporary version of the classic butter sauce, made without egg yolks.

You can go anywhere from this basic beurre blanc, with endless variations -- herbs, fruit juices or purées, soy, chiles ... your imagination is the only limit.

Make sure you use real shallots in this recipe, not green onions or scallions (which in New Orleans are often mistakenly called shallots). You can substitute onions if necessary, but they have a sharper flavor; use sweet onions if you have to substitute.

This recipe doubles or triples well, also.

In a non-aluminum saucepan, combine shallots with the wine. Reduce a glace (until syrupy). Add the lemon juice or vinegar and reduce a glace. Remove from heat and add one chunk of butter, stirring with a whisk to blend. Slowly add all the pieces of butter until well combined. This technique is called monter au beurre, to finish, or "mount" a sauce with butter. If you need to return the sauce to the heat to incorporate all the butter, do it over very low heat, or the sauce will break.

Strain the sauce through a fine mesh strainer and serve immediately, or hold in a double boiled over barely simmering water, or in a Thermos.

YIELD: about 3/4 cup


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Chuck Taggart   (e-mail chuck)