I have come to believe that the perfect dinner is not just about the food, it’s also about your state of mind. You could certainly have the most elaborate meal with many courses of roasted meats, and grilled fish with palette cleansers and russian eggs, fois gras, and lovely sorbet’s but if you’re not there in your head, it won’t matter, you just won’t appreciate it as you think you might. Sometimes simplicity is the most satisfying of all. A few choice morsels that you can savour while having a lovely conversation with someone you like to be around and a nice wine is the best meal of all. Tonight’s dinner was not a huge production, but a meal of a few things that we really like. It gave us time to reconnect and recount the day, while we ate a few of our favourite things. Tonight’s menu was smoked salmon (smoked by Pete in our backyard a couple of weeks ago, we may never be able to go back to store bought!) with the usual accessories of sour cream with dill, capers, and sliced shallots and steamed artichokes with buerre blanc for dipping. And to top it all off, Pete made ice cream with frozen fruit, fresh cream and vanilla bean sugar for dessert, I think I’ll keep him.
This was the second time I attempted a buerre blanc, the first being not very successful. As I had nothing to compare it to, I really had no idea what a complete and utter failure my first foray into the buerre blanc world was, now I do. This time I was blessed with the most amazing, thick, tangy and creamy concoction I could imagine! I was practically giggling with happiness at the wonderful emulsification that took place in my kitchen. Should you ever wish to attempt this tasty bit of heaven for yourself this is how I made it:
Beurre Blanc – makes about 3/4 cup
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
1/4 cup white wine
1 shallot finely chopped
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 pound of cold butter cut into cubes
salt and pepper
1 tbsp. chopped fresh chives
Place shallot, vinegar, wine, and lemon juice in a sauce pan over med. high heat and cook to reduce to about 2 tbsp. Add cream and reduce again to about 2 tbsp. whisk often. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a couple of minutes. Start whisking in cubes of butter one at a time until they stop melding into the sauce, return pan to very low heat and continue to whisk in cubes of butter. When butter is all incorporated, add salt and pepper and chives and continue to whisk, you should have a sauce that is the consistancy of a bechamel, very creamy and smooth. Serve immediately with fish or vegetables.