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Why isn’t my lemon sherry sauce coming together?

One of my favorite restaurants has a dish called Lemone. It’s a Mediterranean style “French” sauce over linguine with artichoke, tomatoes and feta. Simple yet delicious.

However whenever I try to make the sauce - lemon, sherry and butter it always turns out like crap. I’ve followed numerous recipes using different ratios of ingredients but I still can get it to taste right and I can’t get it to thicken up really.

What do you recommend trying?

Edit: more details about the dish.

10 comments
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level 1

You're going to want to use a technique known as "mounting"the butter. Essentially, you take all of your flavors, (Sherry, lemon, etc) in a pot and warm it up to disperse the flavors throughout. Once it reaches a warm temp, kill your heat and slowly wisk in a few tbls of cold butter and you should get a consistency closer to what you're seeing at a restaurant. There are plenty of videos on Facebook teaching this technique. It's really the most important one I sauce making.

level 1

What's your current procedure and how is the taste different from your intended sauce?

level 2
Original Poster1 point · 3 months ago

First attempt was 1/4 cup of each ingredient just simmering in a pan on low heat. Stir, stir, stir. But it didn’t really thicken and it was heavy on the sherry.

Second attempt was a 2:1:1 ratio of butter to sherry and lemon. And still too much sherry taste and the lemon just taste raw and bitter.

It went along like this a few times and I just can’t seem to nail it down.

The sauce I’m attempting to achieve was smooth and creamy but tasted light and lemony

level 1

So I’m not familiar with this sauce. But the ingredients are somewhat similar to a buerre blanc except instead of vinegar you have lemon juice and instead of white wine you have sherry. So why not try the following technique I was taught to make buerre blanc?

Modified Ingredients: 50 ml lemon juice 150 ml sherry 200 g cold butter cut into small cubes

Procedure:

  • Pour lemon juice and sherry into pan and reduce by 9/10

  • When 1/10 is left, throw in a few cubes of butter into the pan and start whisking

  • As the butter melts and combines with the lemon and sherry, throw in a few more cubes of butter while continuing to whisk

  • Continue throwing in a few cubes at a time until all butter is incorporated

  • Have some extra butter to throw in just in case you didn’t reduce enough initially

If you did it right, you should be left with a beautiful emulsified sauce.

level 2
Original Poster1 point · 3 months ago

I will try this! Thank you!

level 3

You have to keep the temperature just right when doing this.

level 1
Original Poster1 point · 3 months ago

Do you recommend a low heat?

level 2

Heat the sauce over low and add the butter off heat stirring constantly until each cube is fully incorporated

level 1

I've had the luck to live in a part of the world where chicken and or artichoke French (Francese) is ubiquitous. If I had to guess, I'd say I've made it 10,000 times and the secret weapon is parmesan. This dish is odd because you pan fry and then destroy the crispy coating with sauce, so its got to be all about the sauce.

Best practice: sherry into hot pan, scrape up fond if that's what you're into. Be careful, the vapor may ignite. Let the alcohol burn off or cover with lid for a moment, while reducing the wine by 1/2. Add lemon juice and zest to taste. I like to throw the squeezed wedges right in the liquid while the sauce finishes. Add your artichokes or whatever you're frenching back to the liquid. Add butter and let it melt. Turn off heat and cover the surface with a thin layer of grated parm. Go for the good stuff, the stuff in the green can that sits out on the grocery store shelf will not blend nicely into a sauce. Gently shake and swirl until the sauce comes together. Taste, season, taste again. Squeeze lemon juice over just before serving.

Troubleshooting: reduce wine enough so you get the flavor without the sauce being watery. Taste often. Lemons vary so it's misleading to say "use 1/2 lemon per portion." You have to trust your tasting. Use enough butter. No magic here, but for 1 cup of sauce I'd say about 3 tbsp of butter. When you parm you want to make sure you get it on the artichokes or chicken or whatever. The butter, wine, and lemon will stick and coat as the sauce comes together. Start with a light dusting in the pan and add more if it's too thin. Too much can be salty.

I know there are other ways to make this sauce. This is how I did it at multiple successful restaurants in the 585.

Side note, parm is a great way to add salt, umami, and bring many sauces together.

Edit: speeling

level 2
Original Poster1 point · 3 months ago

Sweet I’m from the 585 as well and Rochester has a great Chicken French flavor! I did add parm to my last batch and it was legit. Will be practicing these tips. Thank you !

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