Sauce citronnée

This creamy lemon sauce is delightful over steamed or poached fish or veggies and is a cinch to make. You heat cream to simmering, add butter bit by bit, squeeze in some lemon juice, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and add chives or the herb of your choice just before serving. Unlike hollandaise, there is no risk of the sauce curdling as egg yolks are not involved. The recipe calls for heavy cream — for a lighter version, use light cream.

1/4 cup (6 cl) heavy cream
2 tbsp. butter
1 lemon
salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper
8 chives

Heat the cream to simmering in a small saucepan. While the cream is heating, divide the butter into a few small lumps — about six. When the cream simmers, turn down the heat and add the lumps of butter one by one, stirring. As each lump melts, add another one.

Halve the lemon and squeeze it into the pot through a sieve. Stir. Add salt to taste — 1/4 tsp. if using unsalted butter, and less if using salted. Grind in some black pepper. Stir.

Lay the chives on a cutting board and slice into 1-inch (2.5 cm) segments. Add to the sauce and stir. Leave the sauce on the lowest heat possible until ready to serve.

This sauce may be prepared in advance and refrigerated. Just before serving, reheat very gently over low heat.

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