Let’s talk sauces. Although sauce has the ability to complement or contrast flavors in your dish, it also adds a different mouthfeel, moisture and visual appeal to your food.
They are the building blocks.Truthfully, the classical sauces aren’t that exciting to me, mainly because they are a bit time intensive and as a mom of two – I don’t exactly dabble in these. However, it’s always important to start at the beginning and you can make your own variations from there.
Have fun with these, you cannot learn to improve if you don’t experiment!
( more on thickeners here)
Sauces can be thickened with Roux, starch slurries or reductions. Roux is simply equal parts of fat and flour. Traditionally butter. It can be white or brown depending how far you brown the butter and flour. The darker it goes, the richer and deeper the flavor is.
1-Espagnole (Spanish sauce) created by a brown stock (usually veal) and cooked tomato paste, thickened with roux and aromatics added. I do a similar preparation in my Latin style brisket
Add mushrooms, white wine, tomato? Duxelle sauce
Add shallots, red wine, thyme and bay leaf? Bordelaise sauce
2-Veloute (White Sauce) Simply a light colored stock; chicken, veal, fish, and thickened with roux.
Add mushrooms, cream? Supreme sauce
Add fish stock, shallots, white wine, butter? Bercy sauce
3-Hollandaise Eggs, butter and lemon as an emulsion. You may know this from eggs benedict.
Add shallots, tarragon, reduced vinegar? Bearnaise sauce
Take bearnaise sauce and add tomato paste and heavy cream? Choron sauce
4-Bechamel Milk, flour and butter. You may know this as the start of mac and cheese!
Add cheddar, mustard and other flavorings? Cheddar sauce
Add cream, butter and gruyere cheese? Mornay sauce
5- Tomato Old school tomato sauce was thickened with a roux – but it’s not really done anymore since it could be reduced to thicken and intensify flavor.
Add ground meat, mirepoix, red wine? Bolognese sauce
Add onion, garlic, pepper, celery, cayenne and time? Creole sauce
Chutney – condiment or dipping sauce with cooked fruits, vegetables, spices and vinegar
Relish- a chunky cooked and pickled mix of vegetables. A chutney is a type of relish
Coulis – cooked or raw and strained vegetable or fruit purees. For example, you can make a sauce out of cooked carrots, vinegar, coriander and a touch of sugar that has been blended smooth.
Aioli- basically a garlic mayonnaise (emulsion) You can add anything here and make it your own! I’ve added chopped dill and lemon for a delicious spin on it.
Remoulade– Another emulsion sauce (mayonnaise based) that has capers, cornichons (pickled gherkins), anchovy, tarragon, chives, dijon
Pesto – Basil, parmesan, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil
Peanut Sauce – Peanut butter based that can have coconut milk, sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, brown sugar, lime
Salsa- Traditionally thought of with tomatoes, but can also be used with fruit (think watermelon, peach, etc) and tomatillos, jicama, etc.
Compound butter – just a mix of butter and spices, herbs, citrus etc.