Master the fundamentals of sauces
When it comes to classic culinary arts, there are five basic sauces every cook should know in order to add moistness, flavor, and richness to any plate. Just as salt and pepper add taste to a dish, a spoonful of the right sauce creates a finishing touch that never disappoints. The possibilities for variations are infinite, since the sauces are all based on only a few simple formulas. The five basic liquids for sauces are milk, white stock, brown stock, tomato puree, and clarified butter. From these, our leading sauces are brought to life.
The Mother Sauces:
- Tomato—tomato puree plus stock, which becomes the base of Creole, Spanish, and Portuguese sauces.
- Béchamel—a white sauce made by combining hot milk with a roux (a cooked mixture of flour and fat), widely used for egg, vegetable, and gratin dishes
- Velouté—a blond sauce made with chicken, veal, or fish stock and thickened with a white roux
- Espagnole—a brown sauce made with a brown stock, to which a brown roux and mirepoix (a sautéed mixture of diced vegetables and herbs) are added; finished with a tomato puree, and used as the base of bordelaise, chasseur, chateaubriand, and demi-glace.
- Hollandaise —a hot emulsified sauce based on egg yolks and clarified butter, which becomes the base of béarnaise, choron, and mousseline sauces.