Poached swordfish with beurre fondu and capers

Poached swordfish with beurre fondu and capers

Buerre fondu(e) sounds classic and difficult. It is probably the easiest emulsion sauce to make. Beurre fondu is just hot liquid, butter, and lemon juice whisked until it forms a creamy sauce. Heat control is very important, but is hard to screw this sauce up.

Buerre fondu takes on flavors well which is why many applications use poaching liquid in place of plain water.


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Two sword fish filets- 4-6 oz. each

Black pepper corns

Juniper berries (optional)

Kosher or coarse sea salt

1- Stick (4 oz.) of cold butter cut into pieces.

Juice of one half lemon.

Grated rind of one half lemon (Optional)

Heaping tbsp of capers


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Fill a sauce pan abut half way with water.

Add salt, peppercorns, lemon juice, and juniper berries.

Heat on high until the water just starts to bubble.

Lower hear to simmer and add fish.

Poach until fish is done- about seven minutes.

Remove fish from poaching liquid, pat dry, and cover to keep warm.

In a small sauce pan strain about 1/3 cup of poaching liquid.

Place pan on heat at a simmer.

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Whisk in cold butter one or two pieces at a time.

Add capers and lemon rind, if using, before the final few pieces of butter are whisked in.

It is important to keep whisking as the aeration is what creates the liquid/fat emulsification.

If the sauce starts to separate add a small bit of water or an  extra piece of butter, whichever works.

Plate fish, top with sauce and capers and serve immediately.

For a lemon buerre fondu use the juice of a whole lemon with slightly less water.

Buerre fondu also makes an excellent sauce for vegetables, like the beans shown in the photo.

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