Butter Poaching Liquid (a variation on Beurre Monté)

A technique for delicately cooking fresh fish

Inspired by Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry Cookbook (Artisan, 1999). Check out the French Laundry recipe for preparing butter poached lobsters. http://carolcookskeller.blogspot.com/2007/05/butter-poached-maine-lobster-with-leeks.html

Butter poaching yields a tender, delicate fish. It’s especially great to serve butter-poached shrimp with polenta or grits, or lobster with simple crispy roasted fingerlings or a potatoes gratin.

Can be halved.

Makes 1 1/2 quarts

1/4 cup garlic, chopped

1/2 cup shallots, chopped

1/2 bottle white wine

24 ounces good chicken or lobster stock

2 pounds butter, cubed

1/2 bunch thyme, chopped

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large saucepan over medium high heat, sauté garlic and shallots until fragrant and translucent, about 2 minutes. Deglaze pan with wine and allow to completely reduce.  Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and, while using an immersion blender, add butter slowly one tablespoon at a time while blending to form an emulsion. Do not boil (keep below 190) or the mixture will separate. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Finish with fresh thyme.

Butter poaching fish

In a medium saucepan bring the Butter Poaching Liquid to120 degrees.  The temperature must be carefully monitored. As long as the temperature does not go above 120 degrees, nothing will overcook. Add the fish and poach for 15 to 20 minutes.

Note: Save your once-used poaching liquid. It can be frozen for several months. Reuses it to poach shrimp, cod, lobster, scallops even duck breasts. I have used mine three times, and then added the remaining liquid to a good fish bisque or chowder.


About barbaraprice

Artist, Food writer, book editor, gardener
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