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Happy 100th Birthday, Julia Child!

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Several of Julia Child’s cookbooks.

Celebrate the 100th anniversary of Julia Child’s birth with this classic White Wine Sauce with Herbs, or Beurre Blanc aux Fines Herbes, as related in the cookbook, “Julia Child & Company,” which was a tie-in to her 1978 TV series.

In true Julia Child fashion, she wrote of this recipe that she “liked it lightened with a little cream.” Yes, lightened with heavy cream.

She also said that it was “brightened with a sprinkling of herbs.”

Then she offered a few words of wisdom: “Unless you are familiar with it and know the tricks of making it ahead and keeping it, you’re wise to make the sauce only at the last minute, although there are directions for ahead-of-time preparation at the end of the recipe.”

You can use this sauce on anything from fish and chicken to vegetables and even bread.

If you had the time, you could also celebrate her culinary gifts to us by making her Boeuf Bourguignon.

White Wine Sauce with Herbs (Beurre Blanc aux Fines Herbes)

4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 tablespoons dry white vermouth
2 tablespoons finely minced shallot or scallions
White pepper
2 1/2 sticks (10 ounces) chilled butter cut into 1/4-inch slices
4 to 8 tablespoons heavy cream
Minced fresh parsley and/or dill

Simmer the vinegar, lemon juice, vermouth, shallots or scallions, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a 6-cup enameled or stainless steel saucepan until liquid has reduced to 1 1/2 tablespoons. Remove saucepan from heat and immediately beat in 2 pieces of the chilled butter with a wire whip. As butter softens and creams, beat in another piece. Then set pan over very low heat and, beating constantly, continue adding more pieces of butter as each previous piece has almost been absorbed into the sauce. Sauce should become thick and ivory colored, the consistency of hollandaise sauce. Remove from heat, add more salt and pepper to taste, and beat in the cream by spoonfuls to lighten the sauce. Beat in the herbs, turn into a warm (not too hot) sauce bowl, and serve.

If you wish to make the sauce ahead, omit cream and herbs and set sauce near a gas pilot light or near a warm burner, just to prevent butter from congealing; at serving time, heat the cream and beat by driblets into the sauce to warm it, then beat in the herbs.

Makes 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups.

From “Julia Child & Company” by Julia Child


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