Beurre blanc

I’m really keen to try and increase my knowledge of classic French gastronomy, starting with amazing sauces. Last night I pan-fried some trout fillets and served them with beurre blanc, based on a recipe by Valentine Warner. I don’t recall ever having beurre blanc before now, but it was rich and glossy, sweet and tangy, and utterly delicious.


  • 140g chilled unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 2 medium shallots, peeled, thinly sliced
  • ½ garlic clove, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 3 black peppercorns, crushed
  • 150ml white wine
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • sea salt flakes


  • Heat one tablespoon of the butter in a pan over a medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the shallots, garlic, thyme, bay leaf and peppercorns and fry for 2-3 minutes, or until the shallots have softened but not coloured.
  • Add the white wine and wine vinegar and bring the mixture to the boil. Continue to boil until most of the liquid has evaporated.
  • Gradually whisk in the chilled butter cubes, one at a time, until all of the butter has been incorporated into the mixture and the sauce has thickened and is glossy.
  • Strain the beurre blanc through a fine sieve into a warmed bowl, then season, to taste.

The white wine that we had was probably a touch sweeter than it should have been, but it worked really well with the fish. I’d definitely be interested to see how using a dry white wine changes the flavour and what affect adding lemon juice would have. Either way, this sauce is now going into regular rotation!

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