If you thought that butter sauces are limited only to a Hollandaise, then think again. There are many buttery tricks in a chef’s repertoire to take a dish to the next level! Unlike many other sauces, where the main ingredient is milk or stock, the following sauces feature butter as the hero.
1. Melted butter
It’s the simplest form of a butter sauce, but yet so useful. Sometimes a bit of melted butter is the only final touch a bowl of cooked vegetables needs.
2. Brown butter
Known among the French as the “beurre noisette”, it’s actually a very simple butter sauce made from melted butter. Butter is slightly heated until it becomes brown and gives off a nutty aroma. This buttery sauce is then used to serve over fish, chicken, or vegetables. This sauce is also used in baking, especially when making madeleines.
3. Black butter
This “beurre noir” is similar to the brown butter sauce, except that it’s heated a little further until it becomes almost black. A few drops of vinegar are added, and sometimes even capers. Care should be taken when adding the vinegar to the hot melted butter as spattering can cause burns. Many chefs melt the butter until the correct color is achieved, pour it over the food item, and only then add the vinegar to the pan.
4. Compound butters
Compound butters are made by combining plain butter with other ingredients. It is then rolled into a cylinder, wrapped in wax paper, and left to set in the fridge. It can then either be ‘sliced’ and placed on top of a hot grilled item (like a seared steak), or used to stir into a sauce.
5. Hollandaise sauce
You might be familiar with the egg-enriched buttery sauce, especially if you regularly enjoy Eggs Benedict. While the sauce consists mainly of butter, it is enriched and thickened with egg yolks. The Classic Hollandaise is flavored with lemon juice, vinegar, shallots, and pepper. These days, only lemon juice is used.