When I was in cooking school those many many years ago I learned to value the power of the “sauce.” I was taught that there were five “mother” sauces. These five specific sauces were the basis of pretty much any and all sauce covered dishes in French cooking since cooking legend Auguste Escoffier simplified and modified them way back in the 19th century.
They are, in no particular order, béchamel, veloute, Espagnole, (AKA Spanish), Hollandaise and tomato. These are all really tasty sauces and pretty easy to make once you get the hang of whisking and pouring and regulating the temperature. I still used them as the kick off point in bunches of my recipes.
All this being said, after a couple of decades of relying on these same old basic recipes I realized I needed to lighten them up, change them and actually recreate them in an upside down way. I was using other, less conventional sauces in place of the tried and true ones. So without further ado, bunches of sauce recipes that go with whatever you want them to and are super easy to make. I’ve pared some of the sauces with fish or chicken and even pasta but feel free to mix and match to your taste buds’ pleasure.
Just remember, a sauce should never overwhelm or fade into the background. It should enhance, showcase and be so good you want to use your fingers to help get every single drop off the plate.
White Fish with Lemon Caper Sauce (dairy or pareve)
- 2 teaspoons capers, drained and lightly rinsed, pat dry on paper towels
- 4 white fish fillets, 6 to 8 oz. each
- Sea salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 2 shallots, minced or 1 Tablespoon onion minced
- 1 teaspoon mince garlic
- ⅔ cup dry white wine
- 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice (only use fresh)
- 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (only use fresh)
- Zest of 1 lemon
- In a skillet melt the butter and add the oil.
- Season the fish with salt and pepper and then cook the fish 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Remove the fish to a plate and cover with foil. Do not clean the skillet.
- Cook the shallots and garlic in the skillet, whisking constantly for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the wine and lemon juice and whisk to combine and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and add the parsley, capers and lemon zest. Mix gently to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
- Pour the warm sauce over the fish and serve immediately.
Modified from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Mediterranean Cooking
Chicken with Orange Sauce (meat)
(This sauce is awesome with salmon too)
- 2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken (any kind), cut into 1½ pieces
- 1½ cups cornstarch
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 2 eggs, beaten
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Oil (for frying)
- 1½ cups water
- ½ cup orange juice
- ⅓ cup rice vinegar
- 2½ Tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 Tablespoon orange zest
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
- ½ teaspoon minced garlic, minced
- 3 green onions, sliced thin
- ½ cup diced red bell pepper
- 3 Tablespoons cornstarch
- ¼ cup water
- Cooked rice (optional)
- Sliced green onions (optional)
- Toasted almond slices (optional)
- In a bowl combine the cornstarch, salt, and pepper.
- In another bowl beat the eggs.
- Place the panko crumbs in another bowl.
- Dip the chicken pieces first in the egg, then coat it with the cornstarch mixture then drip it in the eggs again and finally coat them with the panko. Set them on a cookie sheet.
- When done pour the oil into a deep pan and heat it (you can use a deep fryer). Fry in batches (don’t overcrowd the pan) and place them on paper towels to drain.
- In a large saucepan combine 1½ cups water, orange juice, rice vinegar, and soy sauce. Whisk to combine and cook for a few minutes but don’t boil.
- Add the brown sugar, orange zest, ginger, garlic and red pepper. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.
- In a small bowl combine the cornstarch with the water and mix to form a paste. Slowly whisk cornstarch mixture into sauce, cooking and whisking while it thickens.
- Place the cooked chicken pieces in a serving bowl. Pour the sauce over, toss to combine and serve over rice or noodles.
Can be garnished with sliced green onions and almond slices.
Modified from yummly.com
Pasta with Garlic Sauce (dairy)
(The sauce is awesome over fish)
- ½ cup minced garlic
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup chopped basil
- ⅓ cup parsley
- Grated parmesan cheese to taste (I like lots)
- 1 lb. cooked pasta, drained but not rinsed, kept warm
- Melt the butter in a large skillet and add the olive oil. When hot add the garlic and slowly cook just until the garlic is soft but not browned. Add the parsley and basil and cook for 2 minutes (stir constantly). Do not overcook the parsley and basil should still be bright green.
- Place the pasta in a serving bowl and pour the sauce over the top.
- Mix to combine and top with parmesan.
My files, source unknown
Hunter Sauce (meat or pareve)
Yields approx. 3 cups
NOTE: not a month goes by that at least one reader doesn’t contact me about finding and or recreating the discontinued McCormick Brand’s Hunter Sauce. They have, to date not responded to any requests for information and sadly, I believe it’s gone for good. I did, however, receive a recipe from a reader a few years ago that is pretty close.
- 4 Tablespoons margarine
- ½ to ¾ lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced
- 3 green onions, sliced thin
- 1 Tablespoon flour
- 1½ Tablespoons tomato puree
- 2 cups white wine
- 1 quart beef broth or vegetable broth
- 4 Tablespoons additional butter
- 3 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 Tablespoon dried tarragon
- Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
- In a saucepan, melt 4 Tablespoons of butter. Add ½ lb. mushrooms and sauté 3 to 5 minutes. Add the green onions and sauté for another 3 minutes. Remove them from the pan but don’t clean the pan.
- Add the flour to the liquid in the pan and cook, whisking for 1 to 2 minutes until the flour starts to brown. Add the tomato puree, white wine and beef broth, whisk to combine and cook at a simmer until the sauce is reduced by half.
- Put the mushroom mixture back into the sauce and add the remaining butter, parsley, tarragon and salt and pepper.
- Whisk to combine.
Submitted by a reader, source unknown
© Eileen Goltz sauce 14a