As much as I love fresh black cod when we get it in our delivery from Siren Fish Co., I wasn’t up for doing anything elaborate with it. Plus, it’s so delicious, buttery and fresh, it really doesn’t need much of anything to make it a satisfying meal.
I decided to totally wing it. Plus I wanted Larry to experience the pleasure of a beurre blanc. Cauliflower from our CSA, tossed in olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted until the tops were brown and nutty formed the base of the dish. I steamed the fish in a sautÃ© pan with a small amount of white wine. And then there’s the beurre blanc, the crowning glory.
If you think buerre blanc is fancy or heavy, it’s not. It’s surprisingly light for a sauce that’s essentially made of pure butter. Balance comes from a bit of acid – an even mix of white wine vinegar and white wine, reduced with shallots. The shallots can be strained out or not – but if they’re not, they need to be cut into a tiny, perfect dice because they have an impact of the final appearance of the sauce.
Beurre blanc will hold as long as it’s kept in a warm spot, but it can’t be re-heated. No matter – I like to clarify it and use it for sauteeing. And it’s a great canvas for other flavors – either flavored vinegars, or try red wine for buerre rouge, or tender herbs, such as dill or chervil.
This is about as small a batch that can be easily made – getting the reduction down to a smaller quantity is difficult.
Yield: 1 1/2 cups
2 T finely diced shallots
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
3 sticks (12 oz.) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-size pieces and chilled
In a small, non-reactive, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the shallots, white wine and white wine vinegar. Cook over medium heat until only 1 1/2 tsp. of liquid remains (watch the pan closely once the liquid is down to a few tablespoons).
Off the heat, whisk in one or two chunks of butter. When butter forms a creamy emulsion, place pot over low heat and add the rest of the butter, a few tablespoons at a time, whisking constantly. Continue adding more butter when the previous addition is about three-quarters melted.
Once all of the butter has been added, the sauce should appear creamy and uniform. Add salt and white pepper to taste and hold in a warm spot.
- Steamed Black Cod
- Beurre Blanc
- Oven-Roasted Cauliflower