To melt means to liquefy a solid sub-stance by heat. In cookery the term is most often applied to fats which are melted before frying foods or before they are incorporated into other foodstuffs.

Melted Butter Sauce

This is a traditional English sauce for fish. It is often ridiculed by Continental chefs, but undeservedly so, since it has a fresh, rich flavour. The sauce should only be served in small quantities.

4 oz. butter

½ teaspoon grated nutmeg

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon white pepper

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon flour

2 fl. oz water

1 teaspoon lemon juice

In a small heatproof mixing bowl placed in a pan of barely simmering water, melt 1 ½ ounces of the butter over moderate heat. When the butter has melted, with a wooden spoon, stir in the nutmeg, salt, pepper, cayenne and the flour to make a smooth paste.

Gradually add the water, stirring constantly. Gently cook the sauce for 5 minutes or until it starts to bubble around the edges. Reduce the heat to low and cook the sauce for 15 minutes. Do not allow it to boil. If the sauce becomes too thick, add 2 teaspoons of water, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat.

Cut the remaining butter into small pieces.

Using a wire whisk, whisk in the remaining butter, piece by piece, allowing one piece to be completely absorbed before adding the next. Add the lemon juice to the sauce and pour it into a heated sauceboat. Serve immediately.

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