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Champagne Vanilla Sauce

  • Yield: About 1 generous cup, 4 servings


  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots
  • 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
  • 1 cup Champagne
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Champagne vinegar


  • In a saucepan combine the shallots and champagne. Scrape the vanilla seeds from the split pod into the pan and add the vanilla pod halves. Bring to a boil and cook until almost all liquid evaporates, about 6 minutes. Add the heavy cream, bring to a boil and simmer until cream thickens and coats the back of a spoon, and is reduced by nearly 50% in volume, about 3 minutes. Whisk in the butter until smooth and strain the sauce through a fine mesh strainer, pressing on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Season to taste with salt, pepper and vinegar and serve immediately over fish or shellfish.
  • Note: If sauce is made in advance, keep warm in a bain marie over barely simmering water.