This is the final sauce in the lineup of mother sauces and it too has many variations of finished possibilities.
As with hollandaise, beurre blanc derivatives are prepared by varying ingredients in the reduction or by adding in garnish ingredients. This means that you can either reduce down a liquid with ingredients or add them in at the end when finishing the sauce.
The quality of butter is equally very important to overall success of the sauce. I chose unsalted butter so that I can add salt at the end according to my taste.
Once you add salt, you can't take it away, so starting with a more neutral base gives you plenty of room to add later as needed. Be sure to cube it, and that it's fresh without the odor of sitting in the fridge for the last month. It should have a sweet aroma with a nice, creamy texture.
As for this reduction, you will need a good-quality dry white wine, paired with shallots. It also includes lemon juice, cider vinegar and heavy cream.
Because this is the basic sauce, I'm not adding in many finishing or garnishing ingredients.
However, if you wish to change the flavor, then I suggest adding chopped herbs such as basil, chives, cracked peppercorns, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, saffron, thyme, rosemary or other favorite ingredients.
In staying true to form, I am adding in some heavy cream, following the Culinary Institute of America's recipe pretty closely. You will need to reduce the cream, because the more reduced the cream, the more stabilizing effect it has on the finished sauce. You will need to thicken the sauce until it has a really rich ivory color to ivory-yellow color. But remember, if you choose to add the cream it will overpower the subtle taste of the fresh butter.
When creating this sauce, make sure you have the proper cookware, preferably a metal pan. You can also use a whisk or a spoon to incorporate the butter into the sauce, but I like to take the pan and swirl in the butter over the flame of the burner to incorporate the butter.
If you have an electric or induction oven, you will need to adjust your technique to suit your cooking appliance. When finished you can leave the sauce as is or strain through a sieve with a cheesecloth insert to get the smoothest sauce possible.
In either case, make sure to keep the sauce warm and discard any leftover after 2 hours.
— Scott C. Anderson is associate food service director and chef with Shepherd University dining services in Shepherdstown, W.Va., and Chef Ambassador to the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.
2 1/2 tablespoons minced shallots
10 tellicherry peppercorns (see cook's note)
1 cup dry white wine
4 tablespoons lemon juice
6 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 cup heavy cream (reduced by half, optional )