It doesn’t matter if you’re cooking American or Asian, a good French sauce can push any plate from ho-hum to ooh-la-la. In fact, you may be giving your favorite meals French flair without even knowing it. After all, France is the birthplace of so much of the world’s great cuisine and its five foundation sauces (also known as the mother sauces) are the gravy on top, as it were.
Now it is time to meet your Mothers…
- Madame Bechamel: A classic white sauce made from a combination of flour, milk, and butter. The sauce varies from thick to thin and is used in all types of dishes. Love silky and rich mac and cheese? Well, you’re loving a Béchamel base baby! And if macaroni isn’t your style, make a fantastic lasagna that will be sure to tantalize the taste buds.
- Madame Veloute: A stock based white sauce that can be made from fish, veal or chicken stock. With a name meaning “velvety,” it’s no surprise that veloute adds a special tenderness to veal and chicken dishes.
- Madame Espagnole: Often referred to as brown sauce. Made of a rich meat stock, a variety of browned vegetables, herbs and sometimes tomato paste. Espagnole has a kick to her and is often served with beef, pork and other heavy meats.
- Madame Hollandaise et Mayonnaise: Two sauces made from an emulsion of egg yolks and fat. Both sauces are used as spreads and dressings and are the bases Aioli and Remoulade. So next time you grab a jar of mayo, or down a delicious egg benedict, you better thank this mother.
- Madame Vinaigrette: Ahh a familiar name with little explanation needed. We all love good vinaigrette and with multitudes mixtures available, there is one is one for every palate. You can’t go wrong with a splash of this sauce on greens, but she can also be divine glazed over salmon or a chicken dish.
So grab your Cordon Bleu hat and get saucy dipping, dunking and dousing with your favorite sauces. Oh and don’t forget, always mind your mothers.