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Beurre Noir

There seems to be a controversy among restaurant patrons lately regarding the meaning of the word “meuniere.” That’s a little strange: fish meuniere is among the most popular and widespread dishes in New Orleans restaurants. The disagreement is born from there being two very different styles of the sauce that finishes a meuniere dish. This recipe is in the classic French style, still kept very much alive in New Orleans at the older restaurants, notably Galatoire’s. What they call “meuniere sauce” or “meuniere butter” is brown butter, made by swirling butter around a hot skillet in which the fish (or sweetbreads or whatever) has just been seared, with a skin of seasoned flour. The brown color of the butter comes both from the effects of the heat on the butter, as well as from the flour that would shake loose and brown. You can make beurre noir on its own, however, and here’s how. It’s particularly good with fried or broiled fish, sweetbreads, and thin medallions of veal.

Trout meuniere

  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice

1. In a small saucepan, cook the butter over low heat until it stops bubbling, and the milk solids at the bottom just begin to brown.

2. Carefully add the other ingredients, being aware that this may cause the butter to foam up or even splatter. (It helps to stir it in quickly with a long-handled spoon.) Cook until the foaming subsides. Keep warm until time to spoon over the fish, oysters, sweetbreads, etc.

Makes enough for four to six servings.

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