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Butter-Wine-Garlic Sauce

This is a great sauce for drizzling over fish, especially “white” fish like sole, halibut and scallops. It’s super easy to make, and can be adapted with herbs, shallots, and by modifying the proportions of the butter, white wine and garlic.

Makes about 1 cup of sauce. Time required: 15 minutes.


  • 4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick), sliced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon juice

Heat 1 tbsp of the butter over medium high heat. Add garlic, and saute for one minute. We’re sauteing aromatic vegetables! OK, one aromatic vegetable.

Add in white wine, bring to boil, and cook until reduced to one-third original volume. This is a common element in a lot of recipes: add wine and then reduce its volume. It boils off the alcohol and some of the water, and concentrates the flavor.

Add in the rest of the butter, one slice at a time until it is fully melted, stirring.

Stir in lemon juice. Season to taste.

Tips and suggestions:

  • The butter and wine will separate out over time. If you want to keep it mixed longer, stir in 1/2 teaspoon of Dijon mustard, which will serve as a (mild-tasting) emulsifier. If it adds too much tang, then just substitute the mustard for the lemon juice.
  • There are lots of ways to enhance or modify the flavor. Stir in some minced shallot with the garlic. Try adding some herbs: oregano, tarragon, thyme.

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