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Grilled Shrimp with Tarragon Beurre Blanc

Serves: Makes 4 servings


  • 1 ½ tablespoon chopped shallot
  • 2 tablespoons tarragon or white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, chopped into ½ inch pieces
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 ½ tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped
  • 1 pound large shrimp (16–20), peeled and deveined, tail left on
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


Beurre Blanc (white butter) is a classic French sauce composed of a wine, vinegar and shallot reduction into which chunks of cold butter are whisked until the sauce is thick and smooth. It's excellent with poultry, seafood, vegetables and eggs.

In a small sauce pan combine the shallot, vinegar, wine and peppercorns. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat and cook until the liquid is reduced to about 1 tablespoon. Remove from the heat and stir in the whipping cream.

Reduce the heat to low and return pan to the heat. Add the chopped butter, one piece at a time, allowing each piece of butter to melt before adding the next and whisking as you go, until all of the butter is incorporated. The sauce should be warm but not simmer as you add the butter, if the sauce begins to simmer pull the pan from the heat and add another piece of butter to cool the sauce. Sauce will be the consistency of hollandaise when all of the butter is added.

Strain the beurre blanc through a fine sieve into a small bowl, pressing on the solids with a spatula. Stir in the salt and tarragon. Taste and add more salt if needed. Place the bowl with the beurre blanc in a water bath(a pan of hot water) to keep warm while you cook the shrimp. The sauce is delicate and will separate if it becomes too cold or too hot.

Pat the shrimp dry and place in a medium bowl. Drizzle with enough olive oil to coat, season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Lay the shrimp on the grill and cook until the flesh begins to turn pink and opaque, about 2 minutes. Turn and finish cooking, 1 to 2 more minutes. Shrimp should be opaque throughout. Divide beurre blanc between four plates and top with grilled shrimp. Serve immediately.

Tested and perfected in the Sur la Table kitchen

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