All those wonderfully eye-pleasing entrees we prepare, whether roasted, braised, or sauteed, are made better by the sauces that bring that extra measure of flavor and moistness to the plate. From savory to sweet, the sauce often is the jewel in the crown of your starring dish.
French “Mother” Sauces
There are five basic sauces from which hundreds of other derivative sauces can be developed. Sauces are liquids that are usually thickened in some way, and are used to 1) add moistness, 2) provide a finishing flavor, 3) add richness, or, 4) enhance the attractiveness of the dish. At the foundation of every sauce is usually a flavored or seasoned liquid with a thickening agent added in. You can find the recipes for these essential basic sauces here.
Red Wine Reduction (Pan Sauce)
When you turn the steak or chop you’re searing, or roast you’re browning, you’ll see some cooked seasoning and brown bits left in the bottom of the pan and floating in the liquid. This is called fond, and it delivers great goodness in a pan sauce to go over your steak or chop, or to finish your roast. You can find the technique for creating a delicious pan sauce from the fond right here.
Shrimp Cocktail Sauce
Hardly anything excites the pallet upon first sight more than the classic shrimp cocktail, which is elegant by its very nature. Our simple recipe will help you serve an outstanding, flavorful, sauce that is robust without being overly hot. Buy your prepared horseradish the way you want to serve it: Very hot, hot, medium, or mild. By letting the manufacturer prepare it, you eliminate the guess work. Get the recipe here.
Classic raisin sauces have been around for as long as anyone can remember. Leaving grapes out to dry in the sun and air is one of the oldest methods of preserving them by turning them into raisins. Raisins and dried fruits are simple, wholesome foods, grown by nature and used basically the same way for thousands of years. We have some raisin sauces to spice up that fruit pie, baked ham, or to turn ice cream into something extraordinary. Here is the Rum Raisin Sauce, Raisin Sauce (No Rum), and the classic Raisin Sauce for Ham.
Sauces really elevate many dishes to a whole new level of eye appeal and flavor. Here’s a little trick to make your sauces shine: Use cold, not softened, butter for pan sauces. Swirling a tablespoon or two of cold butter into a pan sauce right before serving adds richness and body, and gives the sauce a “glossy” appearance. Cut the butter into tablespoon-size chunks so that it melts quickly. Give it a try! Stir some up, and enjoy the comments of your guests.