Favorite French Recipes

When we were in Brittany earlier this year we ate a lot of seafood. One of the meals that stayed in my mind was fish with some sort of simple but fabulous sauce. It took me a little research before I discovered it was the justly famous beurre blanc, a very simple sauce made with a lot of butter.

The French are famous for their sauces and if you take a look at the ingredients you will often find butter as a main ingredient, much as Julie of the Julie/Julia Project blog and book fame found out when she worked her way through Julia Child’s book, Mastering The Art of French Cooking and gained a lot of weight. The movie based on the book is coming out in August, by the way. I can’t wait to see it with Amy Adams playing Julie and Meryl Streep playing Julia Child.

Ever since I’ve lived in France I’ve been trying to learn to cook a few of the famous French dishes. I think this is the first sauce I’ve tried. I may have done hollandaise a long time ago. I found it to be very simple when I finally tried it. I first looked at the recipe in a cookbook of French recipes by two American women. I’ve liked just about every recipe of their’s that I’ve tried but then I thought that I should take a look at Julia’s recipe. I think she would be the expert. Here are both recipes:

Beurre Blanc (Butter Sauce) from The French Recipe Cookbook, now no longer published.

2 shallots, finely chopped
6 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp light cream
3/4 cup unsalted butter cut into 12 pieces
salt and white pepper

Put the shallots and vinegar in a small heavy saucepan. Boil over high heat until the liquid has almost evaporated, leaving only about 1 Tbsp. Stir in the cream. Reduce the heat to medium and add the butter, one piece at a time, whisking constantly until it melts before adding the next. Strain and adjust the seasoning before serving.

Julia’s recipe:
She says it can be used with boiled, baked or broiled fish, shellfish, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower or poached eggs.
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 Tbsp finely minced shallots
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp white pepper
12 ounces chilled butter (3 sticks) cute into 24 pieces.
Use same procedure as with the above recipe.

Be sure to remove the pan from the heat once the butter is all beaten in. Use right away or put pan over barely tepid water so it won’t congeal. I didn’t really measure my butter. I just kept adding pieces and beating it until it was thick and yellow. I also didn’t strain it to get out the shallot pieces. My this stuff was good. I even dumped some on my rice something I’m sure no self respecting French woman would do.


I put my sauce on lightly fried fish.

10 thoughts on “Favorite French Recipes

  1. That Julia recipe has twice as much butter as the other one. No wonder it tasted good. Do you think Julia Child would be happy about the movie? I heard she didn’t like the blog. I like the concept and I’m insanely jealous that Julie (the author) got a book and a movie deal.

  2. Linda, I am sooooo impressed you made Julia Childs’ beurre blanc!! I LOVED her book “My Life in France” and she describes it in some detail in that memoir. Also loved Julie Powell’s book and look forward to the movie!

    Your creation looks magnifique. Good on you, and I’m sure it was delicious, too.

    Cheers and as our heroine always said, bon appetit.

  3. Linda, your fish and rice are making my mouth water! Yes, you can never have too much butter! I’ve never made this sauce, but I know I would also leave the shallots in to serve it. Mmmmmm!

    I only just saw the Julie/Julia movie trailer on TV last night and, like you, can hardly wait for the movie to come out! That was the first I’d heard of this movie. How delightful!

  4. Two of my favourite foods.. Fish and Rice..:-)

    I knew straight away the sauce you researched..My son is a chef and is always talking about Beurre blanc, especially with Fish..easy and simple 🙂

  5. I’m looking forward to the movie too, to see what Meryl Streep does with Julia. I read “My Life in France” as well and had a completely different reaction from Carolyn’s. I was sort of horrified by Julia Child. She seemed like a terribly self-centered, egotistical person who didn’t seem to care about anyone or anything except herself and her career. She uses people including her own family and friends. And she sees every living creature as a possible main course, which was a little off-putting.
    HOWEVER – I’m glad you’re happy with the sauce!

  6. Ooooh, the butter of Britanny! Our friend lives in Rennes and when we visited they had three butters on the table with the cheese. They were all so delicious. I am such a butter wh*&#!!!!

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