Friday, August 12, 2011

Falling in Love Again

A long time ago, I can't even tell how long it has been now, I fell in love with Goat's Cheese. I thought it was just a fling. We would have a torrid and dangerous relationship, starting with crackers and tomato tarts, and ending with me crying and gaining several pounds. But Goat's Cheese has proven to be a generous and gentle lover. For a start, it has more "good fat" than regular cheese, and it's versatile whilst still robust. Also, John, besmircher of all things dairy, loves it. So it became a part of the family, and I made it up a little permanent room in our fridge, where it hangs out with the cheddar, Stilton and mozzarella. It's happy, I'm happy, we aren't sick of each other yet. It looks like it will last forever.

But oh how my head has been turned to a new, frantic, passionate love. And this time, there is no good fat involved. I am having a serious fling with Lemon Beurre Blanc. It's naughty, dirty, filled with wine and butter, and has left my pantry devoid of shallots. But I want it on everything all the time. I'm mad about it, frenzied over the thought of tangy buttery lemony deliciousness. I find myself making homemade gnocchi just because I want to put Beurre Blanc on it. I'm hopeless.

Beurre Blanc is a french white butter sauce and it's often made with wine and vinegar but I've been making it with wine and lemon juice. A while ago I had purchased a bottle of inexpensive white wine. I took one sip of it and instantly couldn't stand it. I don't remember now so much what the taste was like, but I'm not one to waste alcohol, so I instantly decanted it into tupperware and threw it in the freezer. I often do this with leftover wine, or wine I don't care for. Lemon Beurre Blanc is very very tangy and rich. It has such a bright flavor, and is surprisingly easy to make. It works well as a sauce for fish, but I've mostly been putting it on potatoes. The delicate earthiness of a boiled potato, or the dense chewiness of gnocchi is the perfect vehicle for a sumptuous sauce like this.

Be warned though, once you've started down this slope, you might find yourself sneaking around with it, cheating on all your other sauces, telling lies to your spouse about the calorie content... basically acting in a very improper manner. But oh, it's worth it.

Lemon Beurre Blanc

This is a small recipe, yielding just over 1/3rd of a cup. I've found that making more is dangerous for me, as I can get a bit carried away. It's a rich sauce, so you really don't need too much of it and I've found this a good serving size for two people drizzling it around a plate of potatoes and fish.

1 Shallot, finely minced
1/4 Cup White Wine
1/4 Cup Lemon Juice
4 Tablespoons Butter
Salt and Pepper to taste

Finely mince the shallot and put it in a small pan with the white wine. Simmer over a medium heat and let reduce until it's barely a glaze. Add the lemon juice and again, reduce it until there is just barely any liquid left. Add a pinch of salt and a grind of pepper. Dice the butter up into small cubes. Turn off the heat. Add a cube or two of butter and stir in. When it's melted, add the rest of the butter and stir. If it gets too cold to melt, return the pan to a very very low heat. Pass the sauce through a strainer to pull out the chunks of shallot (which have probably turned pink). Serve immediately as it will solidify if set to cool.

You can, in the event you have any left (pffft), store it in the freezer.

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