Renowned chef and restaurateur Geoffrey Zakarian has let us in on a hidden gem in his sauce-making arsenal that can transform your culinary creations: European-style salted butter. This secret technique originates from the elegant French tradition known as "monter au beurre," where the simple addition of butter elevates the flavor profile of sauces. Let's delve into this culinary marvel.
Monter au beurre is a versatile technique that can be used in a variety of dishes, including savory pan sauces, pastas and vegetables. This method is all about infusing your sauces with a rich, buttery goodness. The process is relatively quick, taking around 10 minutes from start to finish, making it an accessible technique for home cooks and professional chefs alike.
Here's how it's done:
Chill the butter: Cube one or two cold wedges of European-style salted butter and chill it in the freezer for 30 minutes to make it very cold. The high butterfat content and slight saltiness of this butter will impart a unique depth of flavor to your sauce.
Prepare your Sauce: Begin by cooking your sauce to perfection, whether it's a velvety béchamel or a rich reduction sauce. Once your sauce is almost ready, remove it from the heat source.
Incorporate the Butter: While the sauce is still warm, add the cold butter wedges, one at a time, and gently whisk or stir. The residual heat of the sauce will melt the butter, allowing it to blend seamlessly. This process not only enriches the flavor but also imparts a luxurious, velvety texture to your sauce.
As you whisk or stir in the butter, you'll notice the sauce becoming glossier and smoother. The butter's fat marries with the other flavors in the sauce, creating a harmonious blend that's a delight to the palate.
The result? A sauce that's not just tasty but also beautifully textured, giving it an improved mouthfeel that's hard to resist.