We are fortunate that there is an open air market nearby where a Mexican family sells home-made prepared tamales. We love the suckers. Recently, we bought a batch but then considered, normally we have the tamales with a spicy salsa or a marinara sauce. We thought, why not have something different this time? What would be a good sauce that would accompany the tamales?  The answer was immediate: how about a nice butter sauce? One of the tastiest butter sauce I know is sauce bátarde from the classic French canon of sauces. It’s mainly a hot, thick simple sauce that is usually served with vegetables and boiled fish. And it was delicious when combined with the tamales.

You’re not limited with this butter sauce. I’ve had it over chicken, venison, even steak. To me, it’s an all-purpose sauce, easy to make and simply delicious.

(Sauce Bátarde)


2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon cold water
16 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups warm water, lightly salted
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice


  1. Put the egg yolks into a bowl with the cold water. With a fork or a whisk, beat the mixture until it is smooth. Set aside.
  2.  In a heavy  saucepan or skillet over low heat, melt 4 tablespoons of butter. Add flour and stir until the mixture begins to bubble. Take the pan from the heat and add the lightly salted warm water, whisking rapidly. Return the pan to the heat and continue whisking until the mixture boils. Remove the pan, allow the mixture to cool for at least a minute, then add the beaten egg yolks. Return the pan to the heat and continue whisking until the sauce thickens slightly. Do not allow the sauce to boil.
  3.  Again remove the pan from heat, pour in the lemon juice, add the rest of the butter and whisk steadily until it is combined with the sauce. Serve immediately.
    Yield: about 2 cups sauce.