1/2 cup sliced shallots
3/4 cup water
1 sprig thyme
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
6 large garlic cloves, minced to a paste or put through a press
Freshly ground white pepper
Fresh lemon juice
Put the shallots , water, and thyme in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook at a low boil until the shallots are very soft and the water has reduced to a generous 3/4 cup. Remove the thyme and turn the heat to very low. Use an immersion blender to start pureeing the shallots. Add a piece of butter and contine to puree, emulsifying the water and butter. Continue adding the butter piece by piece, incorporating each bit of butter before adding another. tilt the pan as you work and keep it over the heat. The sauce will become light and very pale yellow. Strain the sauce through a fine sieve, pushing down on any solids that remain with a wooden spoon. Return the sauce to the pan. Season with salt.
You can serve the sauce right away or keep it warm at the back of the stove for an hour or so, giving it a whisk once in a while. Add a few drops of water if the sauce becomes to thick. Store any leftovers tightly covered in the refrigerator. To rejuvinate leftover sauce, put it in a saucepan over medium-low heat and bring to a simmer. the sauce will break (separate) at this point.
Reduce the heat to low and re-emulsify the sauce with the immersion blender. Add garlic to the butter sauce and use the immersion blender to puree the garlic completely into the sauce (you don’t want to come across bits of garlic). Check for salt and season the sauce with white pepper and lemon juice. Serve, or keep warm at the back of the stove for up to one hour before serving. Add a few drops of water if the sauce becomes too thick. Makes about 1 cup.
Shrimp or squid for dipping, or grilled mackerel for a sauce.
Recipe obtained from Fish Without a Doubt by Rick Moonen and Roy Finamore.
Photo courtesy TheWineBuzz