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New Orleans Seafood Cookbook
by Ralph Brennan
This lemon butter sauce is excellent as a simple sauce spooned onto simply prepared fish and shellfish.
For about 1 3/4 cups


• 1 1/2 cups good-quality dry white wine
• 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
• 1/2 teaspoon minced or very finely grated lemon zest
• 1 teaspoon apple-cider vinegar
• 1 teaspoon minced shallots
• 1 teaspoon minced garlic
• 1 teaspoon, packed, minced fresh thyme leaves
• 2 tablespoons heavy cream
• 7/8 pound (3 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into about 20 pats
• 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste


1. In a heavy, nonreactive 3-quart saucepan, combine the wine, lemon juice and zest, vinegar, shallots, garlic, and thyme. Cook over medium-high heat until the liquid in the mixture reduces to 1 to 2 tablespoons, about five minutes.

2. Add the cream and cook until the liquid in the pan reduces to 1 to 2 tablespoons, about four minutes. (The sauce may be prepared to this point up to 45 minutes ahead and left at room temperature. Reheat the cream mixture briefly over medium heat, whisking constantly, before proceeding to Step 3.)

3. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook as you add 2 pats of butter at a time, whisking constantly, until all the butter is added and incorporated into the sauce; each addition of butter should be almost completely melted in before adding more. This will take roughly 10 to 15 minutes total. Remove from heat.

4. Whisk in the kosher salt and pepper.

5. If serving the sauce immediately, strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a small saucepan. If not serving promptly, strain the sauce into the top of a double boiler and serve as soon as possible and definitely within one hour, keeping the sauce warm, uncovered, over hot (not simmering) water.


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