Bonjour! We are getting ever so slightly posh this week with a little help from our French friends. This is the kind of meal usually reserved for those occasions when I have an evening out and can enjoy my dinner at a restaurant, but it is surprisingly simple and perfect for when you want to prepare something extra special at home.
Beurre blanc if you didn’t know is a creamy, butter sauce. It is extremely versatile and can be prepared in many ways – you could add herbs, stock or even red wine. The variations are almost endless, and this is my version.
Beurre blanc is the perfect accompaniment to seafood and green veg, and I paired it with what I had in the fridge at the time – angelfish and asparagus on this occasion You could enjoy it with tuna or salmon (my favourite) and other green veggies like green beans and broccoli. You could also serve it with crushed baby potatoes or mash if you like.
Although the components of this dish are fairly straightforward it is the timing that can be tricky. You will want to have everything ready to be plated at the same time, especially the sauce which should be served immediately.
If you follow the instructions below you should not have any problems making the beurre blanc, but please take note of a few things: you should make sure that your butter is cold as this will help prevent the sauce from splitting. Once it has been cubed return it to the fridge until you’re ready to use it. If the sauce does split remove it from the heat immediately and beat a tablespoon of the sauce in a cold bowl. Gradually add the rest of the sauce beating continuously until it is creamy again. Be sure to taste the sauce before serving. The acid and the butter should be balanced with neither ingredient overpowering the overall flavour.
ANGELFISH WITH STEAMED ASPARAGUS AND LIME BEURRE BLANC
- 40ml white wine vinegar
- 40ml dry white wine
- 2 whole black peppercorns
- ½ tsp lime juice
- 2 tsp sliced spring onion
- 400g asparagus
- 4 angelfish fish fillets
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 120g butter, cubed and chilled
1.) Place the white wine vinegar, white wine, peppercorns, lime juice and spring onions in a small saucepan over a medium heat. Allow the mixture to boil until it has reduced to approximately 10ml (2 teaspoons).
2.) While the vinegar mixture is boiling wash and trim the asparagus and steam until bright green and tender. This will take 5-6 minutes.
3.) Drizzle the fish fillets with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and grill or pan fry for a few minutes on each side until just cooked and flaky.
4.) Finishing the sauce: once the liquid has reduced in step 1, take it off the heat and remove the spring onion pieces. Whisk in 2 cubes of chilled butter, and once melted return the saucepan to the stove on a very low heat. Gradually whisk the remaining butter into the sauce, one or two pieces at a time, only adding new pieces once the previous ones have almost melted. Be sure to whisk the sauce continuously and don’t allow it to get too hot or the sauce will liquefy. Remove from the heat as soon as all the butter has been added. Season to taste with salt.
Note: if the sauce is too tart for your liking you can always add more butter.
5.) Season the steamed asparagus with some salt and plate along with the fish and beurre blanc. Serve immediately.