Baked Cod with Beurre Blanc Sauce

I have been wanting to make a beurre blanc sauce since watching Meryl Streep drool over the sauce while portraying Julia Child in Julie & Julia.  I am an easily intimidated cook. Just the thought of making a beurre blanc had me quaking in my Wellies.

A little encouragement from a friend and I decided to give this a whirl. After all, my set of Mastering the Art of French Cooking has been sitting on my shelf, beckoning to me. I usually avert my eyes and run quickly by them. But really, for how long can one be frightened of sauce? So into the deep we go …

For the fish:

  • 6 6-oz cod fillets
  • 1 T lemon juice (the juice of about ½ lemon)
  • 2 oz unsalted butter (½ stick), melted
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Ground white pepper, to taste

For the Beurre Blanc

  • 1/4 C white-wine vinegar
  • 1/4 C dry white wine or dry white vermouth
  • 1 T finely minced shallots or scallions
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 8 ozs [2 sticks] best-quality unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 16

For the Fish:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Arrange cod fillets, skin-down, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

With a pastry brush or even a paper towel, brush the fish with lemon juice and then melted butter.

Season with Kosher salt and with a pinch of white pepper.

Bake until the fish is opaque and just beginning to flake, 10-15 minutes or so, brushing once with more melted butter about halfway through the cooking.

Serve topped with hot beurre blanc sauce.

NOTE: That’s the easy part!

For the Beurre Blanc:

In a 1 1/2 quart saucepan combine vinegar, wine, shallots, salt and white pepper and bring to a simmer.

Gently simmer liquid until reduced to 1 1/2 tablespoons. Remove from heat and immediately swirl or whisk in 2 pieces of chilled butter. As the butter is incorporated into the liquid add another piece and continue to swirl or whisk. Return pan to low heat and while constantly swirling or whisking add successive pieces of butter. When all of the butter has been added remove from heat. Sauce will be thick and creamy. Adjust seasoning to taste. Serve immediately.

NOTE: My sauce BROKE! Broke I tell you! THere it was … beautiful, luscious, creamy, thick. And then, in the few seconds it took me to reach into the oven and grab the fish, the sauce BROKE! Timing with this dish is EVERYTHING! Or, don’t cook alone and have someone in the kitchen at the critical moment to pull the fish out of the oven! I was able to salvage it by putting a bowl in the freezer for a few  minutes and then transferring a few spoonfuls of the sauce into the cold bowl and gradually whisking in the rest of the sauce by the spoonful. It still wasn’t as luscious and creamy as it appeared to be getting before the DISASTER, but it was still DAMN good!

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2 Responses

  1. We watched a clip of Julia making this the other day. Looks just as delicious as hers.

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