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How to Make a Beurre Blanc Sauce for Fish

Updated on December 9, 2009

If you’re like me, like most North American’s – you don’t eat enough fish and seafood.

Here’s a recipe that you can use to great results with just about any delicate white fish.

Beurre Blanc Sauce

  • ¾ cup of dry white wine
  • 1 large or 2 smaller shallots, finely minced
  • The juice from ½ a lemon
  • 2 Tbls of heavy (whipping) cream)
  • 8 Tbls of unsalted butter, kept cold and cut into squares
  • Salt and pepper to taste (white pepper is traditional here, to preserve the whiteness of the sauce. I generally just use black pepper, however. Up to you…)


  1. In a heavy skillet, bring the wine, lemon juice and shallots to a boil and reduce the mixture until the wine has almost evaporated – only a couple of spoonfuls remain.
  2. At this point, add in the cream. As soon as the cream start bubbling, take the pan off the heat and toss in 2 cubes of butter (about 2 Tbls worth)
  3. Stir the butter into the cream/wine mixture, letting it melt gently, stirring constantly. If the butter stops melting well, you can touch the pan back on the heat for another 10 or 20 seconds, and again remove from the heating elements (see the video for a good demonstration). Overheating the butter can lead to the butter ‘separating’ and to a greasy sauce, which is not what you want here.
  4. Keep whisking in the butter until it had all incorporated, and then season with salt and pepper to taste. For a finer sauce, strain out the shallots (I don’t generally bother).
  5. This sauce needs to be used right away or kept warm on a double boiler, it cannot be reheated.

Once you get the hang of this it is a very easy and quick sauce to make and with as much butter as you’ve added to it – you know it’s going to taste pretty sinful!

Beurre blanc goes well with most fish and seafood, as well as vegetables like asparagus, broccoli and snow peas.

Note – you can make this sauce with adding the heavy cream – the cream does give you a bigger margin for error however. The sauce is less likely to separate with a little cream in it.

CIA video demo


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