I can be a stubborn creature. Before culinary school, a beurre blanc wouldn’t have appealed to me at all. I either thought it was too rich, too bland, or just old-people food. (Sidebar: I am not sure I had ever actually had a beurre blanc before.) Though certainly rich, a good beurre blanc is anything but bland. The day we made it at school it was a revelation. What a beautiful butter sauce it is when perfectly smooth and balanced!
This particular beurre blanc recipe is not the classic simple sauce, but rather one aromatized with orange as the citrus — rather than the typically lemon — and chives for a bite. The bright orange colour is a great place to sit some fresh shrimp. Make sure you serve this alongside some crusty bread for dipping and a glass of light Chardonnay.
Shrimp with Orange and Chive Butter Sauce(serves 2)
First prepare the prawns by cleaning them, removing all but the tails and butterflying them. Butterflying shrimp or prawns is really easy. To butterfly them first remove all the shell except the tail, now gently edge a paring knife along the vein in the back of the shrimp cutting as close as possible without going through. The shrimp should now open like a book. Sprinkle the prawns with salt and pepper and put in the fridge until you are ready for them.
Juice the orange and reserve a teaspoon to finish the sauce with. Combine the rest in a very small saucepan or skillet with the shallot and the white wine. Bring to a simmer and simmer until reduced to 2 tablespoons. Reduce the heat on the pan to medium-low and add cream. In the meantime start heating a medium sized skillet to medium heat. Allow the cream and orange mixture to reduce back down to two tablespoons.
Now you want to make the sauce while you saute the shrimp. Add the olive oil to the big pan and toss in the shrimp, continue tossing them while you start the sauce. Remove the sauce from the heat and whisk in the cubes of butter. Whisk continuously and add 1-2 cubes at a time. Once the prawns are cooked through remove them from the heat. Once all the butter is emulsified into the sauce, swirl in the remaining orange juice and chives. Taste the sauce and add pepper and salt. (If you use salted butter you likely won't need salt.) Combine the sauce with the prawns and serve hot alongside toasted bread for dipping. (Note: you need to serve this right away, the sauce doesn't hold well)