Adapted from "The Saucier's Apprentice" by Raymond Sokolov
1 hour 15 minutes
Served with fish, poultry or vegetables, this recipe is a French classic.
2tablespoonsshallots, finely chopped
1/2cupwhite wine vinegar
1 1/2poundsbutter, unsalted, chilled
Combine 1 tablespoon of shallots, white pepper, salt, and vinegar in a small non-aluminum saucepan. Reduce by three-quarters to approximately 2 tablespoons. Do not under-reduce. The final reduction must be as acidic as possible without boiling away altogether. Remove reduction from the heat.
While still hot, strain into a clean, heavy non-aluminum 4 cup saucepan.
Crush the remaining shallots lightly and add them to the reduction. Set the saucepan over very low heat.
Add 4 pats of butter (about 2 tablespoons) and start whisking. As soon as the first 4 pats of butter have almost melted, add 4 more. Continue in this manner, adding fresh pats of cold butter as soon as the previously added butter has melted, until you have melted all but 8 tablespoons (1/4 pound). .
Remove from heat and whisk in the remaining butter.
Correct seasoning if needed and serve immediately.