Citrus Beurre Blanc, a.k.a. Devil Sauce

Citrus Beurre Blanc and Salmon

Citrus Beurre Blanc and Salmon

I cohabitate with a fish hater. Which is hard for me, being a native Floridian who grew up eating fish and seafood as a food group. My last meal, without a doubt, would be smoked mullet and swamp cabbage, exactly the way my grandmother made it. But even in the absence of smoked mullet and swamp cabbage, I eat fish every chance I get. Which is not often, considering my unfortunate living situation. So when I do eat it, I make it special. Being left all alone and to my own devices this weekend, I went to Whole Foods in Silver Spring and got a big piece of beautiful wild caught salmon, and made Sandy Patterson’s Citrus Beurre Blanc to go with it (grapefruits cost like THREE DOLLARS each at Whole Paycheck!!!!). This stuff is not for the feint of heart. It contains a ridiculous amount of butter, and as such is also ridiculously delicious. Which makes it dangerous for anyone who is not a supermodel or an Olympic athlete (or just annoyingly genetically blessed). If it moved to New York, Bloomberg would ban it.

Sandy Patterson, who graduated from and teaches at L’Academie de Cuisine, includes this sauce in some of the classes she teaches at the recreational school. (Her husband, Brian Patterson, teaches lesser sauces in the professional program.) I’d say it was the Food of the Gods, but it’s too good. It’s the Devil’s Sauce. How else could something so good be so bad ? And I’m also pretty gosh darn proud of myself for being able to consistently make it. I had a few greasy, nasty, unemulsified disasters with some early attempts.

I know what you’re saying… this is a PASTRY blog, not a beurre blanc blog. But one must diversify in one’s gratuitous butter intake, and a little savory never hurt anyone. Except for this sauce, which makes creme anglaise look like diet food. Here’s how you make it: (I can’t reprint Sandy’s original recipe. First, I don’t know where it is. Secondly, it’s unethical to hand out someone else’s recipe without permission. Thirdly, I’ve made it so many times that I stopped needing her recipe years ago and have strayed from it a bit. But at heart, it’s still Sandy Patterson’s Citrus Beurre Blanc/Devil Sauce.)

Finishing with Butter

Finishing with Butter

Combine the strained juice from a variety of citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit, etc.) in a non-reactive saucepan with a bunch of roughly chopped shallots (2 or 3 or so) and a sprig of thyme if you have some lurking around but it’s not a big deal if you don’t. Reduce until the citrus juices are somewhat syrupy and almost evaporated, and then throw in some heavy cream (a good splash) — and reduce again until thick. Then whisk in a lot of butter, one pat at a time. At least 1-1/2 sticks (10-12 oz.) or so. The more butter you whisk in, the richer, creamier, and more devil-like it becomes. Strain, season, serve.

You can’t keep this stuff for more than an hour or so. It breaks if you try to reheat it. And you can’t just throw away the leftovers, nor can you put it in a coffee cup and drink it like milk. Really, you CAN’T! I mean, you could, but you really shouldn’t. That’s the devil sauce in your head telling you that you can. Instead, look around for other stuff to nonchalantly dip in the leftover sauce so you can pretend like you are not actually eating a bucket of butter and cream. Some suggestions are:

    leftover broccoli

    the ends of bread that you were saving for the birds

    leftover pizza

    saltine crackers


    melba toast

    leftover take-out dimsum

    dill pickles

    microwaved chorizo

    hard boiled eggs

    cherry tomatoes

    baby carrots

    Stella D’oro bread sticks

    the rice cakes you bought for your diet

    a big spoon

Finished Sauce

Finished Sauce

Thank you, Sandy!



Filed under not pastry

4 responses to “Citrus Beurre Blanc, a.k.a. Devil Sauce

  1. Great blog, Colleen! I’ll check back often. But most importantly, we must figure out how the French stay so trim as the inventors of such decadent sauces. I’ll give this one a try to be sure!

  2. Looks fantastic, Colleen. You did a great job. I am going to have to check-out your links to –mmmm…Korean food!

  3. Smokijo

    Colleen, you make me laugh! …and, you make this vegan drool at the thought of that wonderful sauce…on broccoli…stoooopppppp!!! Hugs

  4. Kim McLeod

    Sounds EXCELLENT! Especially using the leftover sauce for our GD rice cakes!
    I’ve eaten tastier sawdust. (but not on purpose)

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