Salt-crusting is a famous technique among professional chefs. Origins Beurre blanc is a French word that literally means “white butter”. It was invented—some say by accident—by Chef Clémence Lefeuvre in the early 20th century at her “La Buvette de la Marine” restaurant in Saint-Julien-de-Concelles Village. Legend has it that the first beurre blanc was actually supposed to be béarnaise sauce but Chef Lefeuvre forgot to add the egg yolks and tarragon to the mix. However, that is only one version of the story. According to other sources, she came up with the recipe for the sauce during her stint as a cook for Château de Goulaine’s Marquis de Goulaine. Of course, despite the confusion regarding its origins, the most important thing is the sauce was invented. Now, let us move on to the recipe!
Total Time: 50 min
- 3 egg whites (or an equivalent amount of liquid egg whites)
- A whole 1- to 2-pound trout
- 4 1/2 cups of kosher salt
- Fresh dill sprigs (optional)
- Garlic or shallots (thinly sliced, optional)
- Lemon (thinly sliced, optional)
- 1 teaspoon of olive oil
- 1 serving of Lemon-Dill Beurre Blanc (see part 2)
- Put a rack in the middle of the oven. Heat to 400° F.
- Rinse the trout well both inside and out. Remove any loose scales.
- Dry the trout with paper towels and set it on a baking sheet with large rims or a cutting board.
- If you chose to use any of the optional ingredients, stuff them into the trout’s cavity.
- Rub olive oil all over the trout. Set aside.
- Put the egg whites and salt in a large bowl. Add in two tablespoons of water. Mix them all together using a spatula.
- Take another baking sheet and make a quarter-inch-thick salt bed the size of the trout using the salt mixture.
- Put the trout on the salt bed.
- Cover the top side of the trout with a quarter-inch-thick salt crust using what is left of the salt mixture.
- Bake the trout for 40 to 45 minutes or until it reaches 135-140° F.
- Set aside for about five to 10 minutes without removing the salt crust.
- Break the crust by tapping it with the back side of a big metal spoon.
- Take a large fork and use it with the spoon to push the crust aside.
- Remove any leftover salt using a pastry brush.
- Gently scrape off the skin on the top part of the fillet using a spoon. Push it sideways.
- Remove the flesh from the bones using the spoon and guide them onto serving plates using a fork.
- Once all of the top part flesh has been removed, gently pull the bones away.
- Push aside any seasoning and separate the bottom part flesh from the skin. Guide them onto serving plates using a fork.
- This recipe takes around 50 minutes to prepare and makes two to three servings. It goes well with the medium-bodied feel and acidity of white wine.
Lemon-Dill Beurre Blanc Sauce
Total Time: 15 min
- 1 cup of dry white wine
- Half a cup (4 ounces) of cold butter (unsalted, cut into cubes)
- 1 finely diced large shallot (feel free to use the white part of fresh green onions instead; you can use the green parts as additional stuffing for the salt-crusted trout)
- 2 teaspoons of finely grated lemon zest
- 3 tablespoons of chopped fresh dill
- 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice (feel free to use more if you like)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Kosher salt
- Crushed red pepper flakes
- Put the shallot and wine in a three-quart saucepan and cook over high heat for around 5 to 8 minutes or until the wine turns glazy and begins to evaporate. Stir occasionally.
- Remove the pan from heat.
- Whisk in the unsalted butter cubes a couple at a time until they melt and the sauce becomes thick and creamy.
- If the butter cubes take too long to melt, set the pan over low heat for a couple more minutes.
- Turn the heat off and add in the dill, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, red pepper flakes and pepper. Feel free to add more of anything to taste.
- Serve immediately.
- This recipe takes around 15 minutes to prepare and serves about six people (makes 3/4 cup of sauce).