Tuesday, May 5, 2009


One person’s own interpretation of what a sauce is can vary from city to city, from country to country. It can either serve as a component to a dish or a condiment simply passed along the table. Whether your preference is a chunky salsa filed with creamy avocado and tomatoes, or the sweet and warm spiced curried chutney. A sauce can and is another way of imparting flavor and bringing a sort of elegance to a dish.
The simple art of deglazing with a liquid and reducing that by half, and scraping of those brown bits of fond that result in a pan sauce to compliment a dish. The fond are those brown bits left in the bottom of the pan after sautéing a meat or a vegetable. Most people struggle with the thought that those brown bits can be whipped into an incredible sauce. A lot of us think whose going to clean that "stuff", I'm not on dishes this week.
Chefs have always known about the mother sauces and there ability to be transformed into various combinations. These sauces are a hollandaise, an egg and butter sauce; espangnole, which is basically beef broth thickened with a roux; velouté, or a whole broth thickened with roux or flour; béchamel, which is milk thicken with a blond roux or flour, mayonnaise, and tomato sauce. A beurre blanc or a butter sauce should also be considered when talking about the mother sauces.
The techniques used to develop a sauce are pretty standard practice, and can be accomplished with minimal skill. Sauces can be thickened in a variety of ways. A Roux most often is fat (oil) and flour cooked together, brown and white sauces benefit from this application. Also milk or cream and flour can be combined in the same way if appearance is important, cream gravy and a cheese sauce come to mind. In recent years butter and pureed vegetables have been used with the same effectiveness. Paired with the addition of aromatics such as garlic, shallots or even some herbs can play an important role when developing a sauce. A sauce can be combined with a host of ingredients depending on the individual tastes.
Understanding the simple and elegant differences between these sauce and there uses and technique to develop them can take your ordinary cooking to new heights. A sauce should enhance the flavors of the food you use them on.

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