Friday, July 27, 2012

France's Butter Sauces I. The Three Most Popular Butter Sauces on French Menus.

Behind the French Menu
Bryan G Newman
    Updated January 2017
Cod with white butter sauce and baby leeks    
The Three Most Popular Butter Sauces on French Menus.
Sauce Beurre d'Ail.
Also called Beurre d'Ail or Beurre d’Escargots.
Garlic butter sauce or snail butter sauce.

Beurre Bercy.
Also called Sauce Beurre Bercy or Beurre Froid Bercy
Bercy butter sauce or Bercy butter.

Sauce Beurre Blanc.
Also called Sauce Nantaise or Beurre Blanc Nantaise.
White butter sauce or the white butter sauce from Nantes.

Sauce Beurre d'Ail.
Garlic butter sauce.

This sauce is a garlic flavored, but certainly not an overly garlicky butter sauce. The sauce began as the flavor behind France’s most famous snail recipe, Escargots à la Bourguignonne, snails served in the manner of Burgundy.  Despite the name, there are no snails in this sauce, not even a smidgen.  If you are not a snail aficionado, worry not, outside of dishes with snails this butter is 100% snail free!
This sauce is made with cold and crushed, but previously boiled garlic cloves, that significantly reduces garlic’s strength. To the crushed garlic will be added shallots, parsley, and pepper.    Garlic butter sauce is a very popular sauce and is served with seafood, steaks, and, of course, snails.
Snails in the manner of Burgundy.
Garlic butter sauce on French menus:
Les Trois Côtes d'Agneau Grillées, Beurre à l'Ail – Three grilled lamb chops prepared with garlic butter sauce.

Langoustines Rôties au Four, Beurre d’Escargots, Tomate Farcie au Fenouil. Dublin Bay Prawns, Scampi, roasted in the oven with garlic butter sauce and served with tomato stuffed with fennel.
Wild mushroom ravioli with grilled prawns
in garlic butter sauce
Pavé de Saumon Poêlé, Beurre à l'Ail au Sake- A thick cut of salmon lightly fried in garlic butter sauce and sake, the Japanese rice wine.

Le Faux-filet Angus Irlandais Grillé, Sauce à l'Ail et aux Herbes de Provence – The Faux-filet, also called a contre-filet, is a UK sirloin, a USA strip steak.  Here the steak comes from the highly-rated imported Irish Angus beef and is served grilled and flavored with the garlic butter sauce as well as the Herbs of Provence herb group.

Beurre Bercy.
Bercy butter or Bercy butter sauce.

Beurre Bercy is a flavored compound butter, in French a “Beurre Compose.”  Compound butters are  prepared with herbs and wine or other flavors and will be served cold as a condiment. A large pat of this butter is added just when a steak or other meat is being served; it will firstly decorate and then melt and flavor the meat.   There are many other compound butters in French cuisine, made and served in a similar manner, they include Beurre Maitre d'Hôtel and Beurre Montpellier.

Beurre Bercy is made with butter, veal or beef marrow, white wine, shallots, parsley and a touch of lemon juice. This sauce is named after the village of Bercy which until 1860 was the central wine and oil market for Paris; then Bercy was outside the city and a tax-free zone. Today, Bercy is part of Paris’s 12th arrondissement.  Read the menu carefully as there are three different sauces that include the name Bercy.
Sauce Beurre Bercy  on French menus: 
Entrecôte  Grillée Sauce Beurre Bercy, Purée de Salsifis – A grilled rib steak (entrecote) served with the Bercy Butter sauce,  accompanied by a puree of the salsify plant, also called the oyster plant. The plant's second name, the oyster plant, was given by those who consider the plant to have a texture similar to oysters, I disagree with that comparison, but then I am naturally argumentative.  Here the salsify is served as an alternative to potatoes as it is a white root vegetable. For those who have never seen salsify uncooked, it looks rather like a thin parsnip.
Le Pavé Charolais et Son Beurre Froid Bercy – A thick US sirloin steak, in the UK a rump steak; from France’s highly rated Charolais AOP beef, served with the Bercy Butter
A grilled steak with Beurre Bercy.
Onglet de Bœuf (300g), Beurre Bercy et Millefeuille de Légumes. A US hanger steak or London broil, a UK skirt steak. This 300 gram (10.50 oz) steak will be lightly fried or grilled and then served with Bercy Butter accompanied by thin slices of interleaved vegetables.
Sauce Beurre Blanc or Sauce Beurre  Blanc Nantaise
 White Butter Sauce.
The beautiful city of Nantes, set on the River Loire, is the regional capital of the Pays de Loire and is honored with the creation of this white butter sauce. Under one or other of its names this butter sauce is a favorite when served with fish, seafood or vegetable dishes. The sauce is made with butter, a dry white wine, lemon, and shallots.  Chefs change the percentages of the ingredients and may use white wine vinegar to suit the fish, seafood or vegetables with which the sauce is served.
Sauce Beurre Blanc or Sauce Beurre  Blanc Nantaise on your menu:
Coquilles St Jacques Sauce Nantaise Safranée  - King scallops served in their shell with Sauce Nantaise flavored with saffron.  Scallops, when noted on a French menu as “Coquilles” St Jacques will be served in their shells. When scallops are served without their shells, the menu will note “Noix” de St Jacques, the nut of the scallop, the scallop meat alone.

Scallops are only rarely cooked in their shells as they are best when only lightly cooked and that is much easier to control when outside the shell. Often the shell will be warmed and then the scallop, after cooking, returned to the shell for serving. Scallop shells are perfect for decoration.
Green asparagus served with Sauce Beurre Blanc. 

Pavé de Saumon a la Fleur de Sel de l'ïle de Ré, Beurre Blanc aux Herbes de Provence. A thick cut of Atlantic Salmon flavored with the flower of salt crystals from the island of Île de Ré, white butter sauce and the herb group, the Herbs of Provence.
The island of Île de Ré is just off the Atlantic coast of France near the town of La Rochelle, the departmental capital of Charente-Maritime, now part of the expanded region of Nouvelle Aquitaine.
Dos de Cabillaud en Croute, Pignons de Pin et sa Sauce Beurre Blanc. A thick cut from the back of fresh cod cooked with pine nuts en croute (inside a vegetable or pastry casing) served with a white butter sauce.

The Atlantic Salmon in the language of France’s neigbors:
(Catalan - salmó), (Dutch - zalm), (German – lachs, wildlachs), (Italian –  salmone atlantico), (Spanish – salmon).
Bryan G. Newman

Behind the French Menu
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