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How to Make Beurre Blanc (Because Everything Tastes Better with Butter)

April 24, 2014

Alison Roman

Inaki Aizpitarte’s mussel-infused beurre blanc, which we featured in the April issue, reminded us how good this simple butter sauce can be. Mind your wine and butter ratios, but feel free to swap onion for shallot and finish with any tender herbs. The silky emulsion relies on ingredients you probably already have on hand, making it an easy way to add a luxe touch to tonight’s pan-roasted fish, chicken, or spring veggies.

1. Simmer ½ cup white wine with a small chopped shallot in a medium skillet until there’s just a little liquid left (about 2 Tbsp.; eyeball it).

2. Over low heat, whisk in 1½ sticks chilled cubed unsalted butter, a few pieces at a time, until the sauce is glossy and emulsified.

3. Season with salt and pepper and add a handful of chopped fresh herbs (tarragon is très classique), a little lemon juice, or both.

SEE MORE: Our Readers’ Favorite Bon Appétit Recipes of All Time

Okay, so maybe you don’t live across the street from a blooming locust tree—you can still make a killer butter sauce.


  • ½ medium onion, chopped
  • 1 small carrot, peeled, chopped
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 pound mussels, debearded, scrubbed
  • 2 bunches asparagus (about 1½ lb.), trimmed, stalks peeled
  • Kosher salt
  • ¾ cup (1½ sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 tablespoon Sherry vinegar
  • 1 cup locust flowers (optional)

SEE MORE: Pro Cooking Tips from 16 of NYC’s Best Restaurant Chefs


Bring onion, carrot, and wine to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add mussels and return to a boil. Remove from heat, cover, and let sit 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook asparagus in a large pot of boiling salted water until bright green and crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Using tongs, transfer to a bowl of ice water. Let cool, then drain and set aside. Reserve pot with water.

Strain mussel mixture through a sieve into another medium saucepan (you should have about ½ cup). Discard (or eat!) mussels and vegetables. Bring cooking liquid to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until reduced to ¼ cup.

Whisking constantly, add butter, a piece at a time, incorporating before adding the next piece. Whisk until sauce is emulsified. Whisk in vinegar; season with salt.

Just before serving, warm asparagus in reserved pot of hot water. Drain, pat dry, and transfer to a platter. Gently mix locust flowers, if using, into sauce and spoon over asparagus.

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