The renowned Pays de la Loire Beurre Blanc Sauce may originate from the Nantes Recette. This delicate "white butter" sauce based on butter, crushed shallots and wine vinegar rapidly became a classic on every honourable Pays de la Loire's table. Perfect with pike, turbot, salmon or scallops, Beurre Blanc - also known as Beurre Nantais (Nantes-style sauce) is indeed a gem of the Pays de la Loire gastronomy.
The origin of this refined sauce au beurre blanc is still discussed; both French towns of Nantes and Angers lay claim to the Beurre Blanc recipe!
Nevertheless, anecdotes from the Pays de la Loire region suggest that the recette comes from a Chef from Nantes who actually forgot to add eggs in his Bearnaisesauce. Running out of time, this cook finally used what would rapidly be called the "Beurre Blanc" to accompany the shad dish ordered by the Marquis de Goulaise - who highly appreciated it!
Thus when the Chef opened his restaurant near Nantes, he introduced his "eggless" white butter sauce in his menu and the renowned cook Mère Michelle, during her visit in Pays de la Loire, decided to bring back the recipe to Paris.
Beurre Blanc is now a classic of the French cuisine, an indispensable sauce for any basic fish dish - grilled, baked or steamed. The original Nantes-style recipe only includes finely chopped French shallots, wine vinegar or white wine (especially Muscadet wine, for the gourmets!), unsalted butter, salt and black pepper.
To create a richer flavour, many cooks add a drop of lemon juice and chopped fresh dill.
Made out from a reduction of vinegar - or white wine - and shallots, Beurre Blanc's secret lies in blending the (cold) butter off the heat. Some gourmets add heavy cream as a "stabilizing agent" but Pays de la Loire's purists would retort that it is no longer the authentic Beurre Blanc but may correspond to the "Beurre Nantais" sauce.