How to Make Perfect Beurre Blanc, According to Ludo Lefebvre
In this week’s episode of Ludo à la Maison, he pairs the French sauce with striped bass and green beans.
In the final episode of Ludo à la Maison season eight, Ludo Lefebvre turns to a French classic—steamed fish (in this case, striped bass) with beurre blanc and green beans. Beurre blanc is one of the mother sauces of French cuisine, and Lefebvre jokes, “As you know, in French cuisine we use a little bit of butter.” Although it’s a simple sauce, as you’ll learn throughout the video, it requires high-quality ingredients and careful preparation—you want the texture of your emulsion to be perfect. Check out some of Lefebvre’s key tips for the dish below.
Dice the shallots
Lefebvre says to dice the shallots very, very fine since you’ll be leaving them in the sauce for texture. (He thinks they pair well with the green beans.)
Good wine is worth it
“If you wouldn’t drink it, don’t cook with it” definitely applies here. Lefebvre says the wine is really the flavor of this sauce, and you want a good white. As he’s from Chablis, he recommends a Petit Chablis—something dry and mineral-y.
Blanch the green beans
To keep the bright green hue of the beans, Lefebvre says to blanch them—first, shocking them in ice water, then putting them in boiling water, and finally, back in the ice water again. This helps set the color (he also likes them cooked, not al dente, FYI). For the blanching water, he likes to use Pellegrino, since it’s salty and adds flavor.
Mind your butter temperature
Lefebvre has several tips for the butter in the beurre blanc. First, to make sure it’s room temperature; second, to make sure the Champagne vinegar reduction is boiling when you add it in, so it melts quickly; and third, to add the butter slowly. All of these steps are important for the beurre blanc’s texture—otherwise, it won’t be the same.
Buy good ingredients
Lefebvre says your first job as chef is to go hunting for good ingredients—“it’s very important the way you pick your ingredients.” As butter and white wine are the stars of the beurre blanc, they should both be good quality.
Use a good knife
When you’re working with the bass, Lefebvre says it’s important to have a good knife—you want to take off the skin, and remove a little bit of the blood as well.
Lefebvre likes to use a steam oven for this dish, because it makes it "healthy" ... until, he says, you add the beurre blanc.