Coast Cooking

Do you know your sauces? Here they are

If you have ever made a gratin like this seafood gratin, then you most likely made a béchamel as its base.
If you have ever made a gratin like this seafood gratin, then you most likely made a béchamel as its base.

This week’s blog posts will be all about sauces.

Did you know that the great French gourmand, Auguste Escoffier, forever changed French cooking by standardizing what chefs of his time were doing?

Perhaps one of the most lasting changes he made was to offer four mother sauces from which all other sauces were derived.

They are espagnole, a brown sauce thickened with a brown roux; veloute, a white sauce thickened with a white roux; béchamel, a cream or milk sauce also thickened with a roux; and tomato sauce. Later hollandaise and mayonnaise were added to the list.

The sauces that derive from those make up an almost endless list, but include mornay, Normandy, mushroom, marchand de vin, béarnaise and many more.

If you have ever made a gratin, then you most likely made a béchamel as its base. It is easy to make; just melt 5 tablespoons of butter in a sauce pan, add 4 tablespoons of milk and incorporate over heat, but do not let it brown. Add 4 cups of milk, a pinch of salt, and a pinch or two of nutmeg. Simmer until the sauce coats the back of a spoon.

Sauce mornay, a common cheese sauce, also is derived from béchamel, and is made simply by adding cheese to the above recipe.

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