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I hear a lot of health conscious people disparage French sauces.  Well, trust me, a few tablespoons of a butter-wine sauce is not going to kill you.  Practice portion control and you’ll never have to deprive yourself.  As for THIS sauce, it is light, velvety and the perfect accent to fish, chicken or vegetables.

According to Wikipedia: Beurre blanc (“white butter” in French) is a warm emulsified butter sauce made with a reduction of vinegar and/or white wine (normally Muscadet) and grey shallots into which softened whole butter is whisked in off the heat to prevent separation. The small amount of emulsifiers naturally found in butter are used to form an oil-in-water emulsion. Although similar to hollandaise in concept, it is considered neither a classic leading nor compound sauce. This sauce originates in Loire Valley cuisine.

The chef Clémence Lefeuvre (see below) invented beurre blanc, apparently by accident, sometime around the beginning of the 20th century. She served this sauce at her restaurant “La Buvette de la Marine” in the hamlet of La Chebuette in the village of Saint-Julien-de-Concelles on the banks of the Loire River a few kilometers upstream from Nantes.

Legend holds that she intended to prepare a béarnaise sauce to go with pike, but forgot to add the tarragon and egg yolks. Some sources claim that this invention occurred while she worked as a cook for the Marquis de Goulaine at Château de Goulaine.Aristide Briand, long-time prime minister of France and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, said at her death in 1932 that it “was a bit like national mourning”.


A good beurre blanc is rich and buttery, with a neutral flavor that responds well to other seasonings and flavorings, thereby lending itself to the addition of herbs and spices. It should be light yet still liquid and thick enough to cling to food also known as nappe.

Beurre blanc is prepared by reducing wine, vinegar, shallots, and herbs (if used) until it is nearly dry.  IN THIS RECIPE I USED PINK GRAPEFRUIT JUICE AND WHITE WINE.  YOU COULD USE LEMON JUICE OR ANY COMBINATION OF ACIDS AND FRUIT YOUR IMAGINATION INSPIRES. Although not necessary, cream can be added at this point as a stabilizer to the sauce. Cold, one-inch cubes of butter are then gradually incorporated into the sauce as the butter melts and the mixture is whisked.

The sauce can separate by either overheating or cooling. If it heats past 58 °C (136 °F), some of the emulsifying proteins begin to break down and release the butterfat they hold in emulsion. If the sauce cools below 27 °C (81 °F), the butterfat will solidify.

















    Step 1

    Put the shallots, the juice & the wine in a small saucepan over medium low heat, and reduce until you have about 4 to 6 TBS of syrup.

    Step 2

    Start whisking in the butter. Regulate the heat as you whisk. The butter should melt fairly quicky, but you don't want to get the sauce too hot or it will break. Optional: strain the sauce which makes it velvety smooth.

    Step 3

    Pour the sauce in a Pyrex measuring cup. Rinse out your saucepan and put an inch or two of water in it. Then set the cup down in the pan and keep over very low heat until needed. Keep an eye on the sauce and don't let it overheat.

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