In this beet sauce, star anise provides a lovely counterpoint
2/3 cup fresh beet juice (from about 3 pounds beets, see box)
1 whole star anise
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) cold unsalted butter,cut into bits
1/4 teaspoon salt
white pepper to taste
juice of 1/2 lemon
1. Put beet juice in a small saucepan with the star anise. Boil the juice over high heat for about 3 to 4 minutes, or until it is reduced to about 1/2 cup. Turn off heat, and let juice sit for 15 minutes.
2. Turn heat to moderate, and whisk in butter, a few pieces at a time. When all butter is incorporated, continue to cook, whisking constantly, for another 3 to 4 minutes to thicken the sauce slightly. Season with the salt, white pepper, and lemon juice. Serve immediately.
One of the most interesting developments in modern French cooking has been the rise of the vegetable sauce: a light, flourless sauce based on fresh vegetable juice that brings intense vegetable flavor and vivid color to the table. But there is no fat-free lunch; butter is often used to give the sauce a little texture. Additionally, modern chefs like to play with flavors that complement the central vegetable. In this beet sauce, star anise provides a lovely counterpoint. Makes about 3/4 cup