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Q&A -- Non Stock-based Sauces

27 posts in this topic

I have to ask: Who gets to eat all this delicious food you make and photograph while you are developing your lessons? :biggrin:


Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Basically me and my partner, Jill. You will see most are scaled for two, except for weekend and parties when neighbors, friends and relations drop round...

The Grand Aioli was eaten by about 6 people fo Sunday Lunch, with some good bread, and fruit and cheese to follow. You will see from the photo it included a boiled chicken, salted cod, tiger prawns, lettuce, beans, carrots, cauli, zuchinni, little gem lettuce, watercress etc. We drank a coupleof bottles of Mas des Brassades Rose 2002 (Costieres des Nimes) with it. Its a great summer dish.

Its also why I am trying to lose some weight and cut out the carbs. Hard to do since one of the future lessons I'm writing is on potatoes. Incidently if anyone knows about US potato varieties, and any US potato based dishes (hash maybe?) could they PM me.


Edited by jackal10 (log)

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Thanks for a great lesson, and fantastic pictures!

A few of the "derivative" sauces were new to me. What would you recommend to serve with a Sauce Tyrolienne, or a Sauce Verte?

Another question -- I hate when sauces develop a "skin" on top. Do you have any recommendations for preventing that skin from forming, or removing it once it forms?

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Jack, regarding vinaigrette: do you find that shaking in a jar is sufficient to emulsify the vinaigrette into a "restaurant-quality" sauce? What are your thoughts on the wisk and the blender, and also on gradual incorporation of the oil?


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Jack, how did you make redeye gravy look so interesting?


"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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a la carte:

Sauce Verte is a green, herby mayonnaise. Its used mostly as a colour contrast instead of plain mayo for cold or warm dishes.. Good, for example against salmon, or jumbo shrimp, or even lobster.

I give as an example using it instead of Aioli for those strange people who don't like lots of garlic.

Sauce Tyrolienne (Tomato mayo) is a Frenchman's idea of Austria. Uses might be with cold meats, or a cold salami salad, or with cold fishcakes (think gefilltefish), or as a sauce for a prawn cocktail. It is the cold equivalent of Choron (bernaise with tomato). I included it as it is in La Repertoire.

Fat Guy: I find shaking the jar just as good as a whisk or a blender, and better for small volumes at home. It can then go straight into the fridge. I guess we renew it a couple of times a week in the salad season.

In a restaurant setting I would either

- have the wait staff whisk the sauce just before serving as part of the theatre, or

- cheat and add a little lecithin or egg yolk to stabilise the emulsion, or

- serve whatever it was plated and ready dressed, not forgetting the obligatory pattern drawn in drops of reduced aged balsamic on one side of a large plate or

- more likely use a commercial product so chock full of emulsifiers it is stable for weeks, straight from the plastic jerrycan

...Maybe a professional chef can enlighten us as to current practice..

Skin usually forms on flour based sauces, like bechamel. A knob of butter rubbed over the durface will help.

Skin should not form on vinagretes, or mayo if covered. Beurre blanc should not skin if kept covered, and pan sauces are used immediately.

To remove a skin either skim it off, or pass the sauce through a sieve


Edited by jackal10 (log)

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Jack: thanks for all the hard work, especially in consolidating a lot of diverse material into a cohesive, coherent unit.

Some follow-up questions:

  • You mention the importance of temperture control in making beurre blanc. Do you find that the same 100 to 130F guideline applies when mounting the butter for a pan sauce?
  • Regarding cornstarch/cornflour thickened sauces: are there time and temperature considerations here as well? I find that they separate if held too long at a simmer, or allowed to boil vigorously for even a couple of minutes. Is it me or the cornstarch?
  • Maybe you could talk a bit about flour slurries? At the Pig Pickin', we used a recipe (it was red-eye gravy, come to think of it) that called for cornstarch as a thickener. We couldn't find any, so we made a slurry of flour and tomato juice, which, along with the coffee, was the other liquid component in the sauce. Though I've read about the technique often, I'd never tried it before. I was quite pleased with the results, though it simmered for two hours, eliminating the possibility of any raw flour taste. What are your thoughts?

Thanks again.


Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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Jack, thanks for another great lesson! A couple of questions.

The last time I made mayo (okay, it was also the first time I made mayo :rolleyes:) I used two egg yolks and some ground mustard to what should have been a cup and a half of oil. I ended up using a little more than two cups of oil because the stuff refused to thicken the way it was supposed to.

Seeing your method, I wonder if two yolks were too many. But I would have thought that the mayonaise would be thicker with two yolks, not thinner.

Thoughts, opinions?

By the way, I plan on making the Rouille this afternoon. I have a couple of chiles left over from the summer crop that'll make for an, um, interesting, mayonaise :shock: .

Chad


Chad Ward

An Edge in the Kitchen

William Morrow Cookbooks

www.chadwrites.com

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Thanks I'm honoured!

* You mention the importance of temperture control in making beurre blanc. Do you find that the same 100 to 130F guideline applies when mounting the butter for a pan sauce?

I think the mechanisms are different for a beurre blanc (which is mostly butter) and a pan sauce (which has a knob of butter in a pan of sauce - maybe 10%). The former maintains the butter emulsion, but the latter makes new emulsion from the vigourous boiling and the denatured protein in the pan residues acting as emulsifier. Keller says Beurre Blanc is stable up to 190C, but even so pan sauces are much hotter.

* Regarding cornstarch/cornflour thickened sauces: are there time and temperature considerations here as well? I find that they separate if held too long at a simmer, or allowed to boil vigorously for even a couple of minutes. Is it me or the cornstarch?

You may be right. I only really use cornstarch sauces for Wok cooking, or in special cases like Rote Grutze(sp?) - cornstarch thickened red currant puree. Long cooking can degrade the starch, and the oil or fat component starts to leak out of the sauce. However that takes more than a couple of minutes - in the old days Bechamel was cooked for hours. Maybe your sauce is high in oil or fat, and when you stop whisking, the emuslion begins to seperate, just like oil and vinegar.

* Maybe you could talk a bit about flour slurries? At the Pig Pickin', we used a recipe (it was red-eye gravy, come to think of it) that called for cornstarch as a thickener. We couldn't find any, so we made a slurry of flour and tomato juice, which, along with the coffee, was the other liquid component in the sauce. Though I've read about the technique often, I'd never tried it before. I was quite pleased with the results, though it simmered for two hours, eliminating the possibility of any raw flour taste. What are your thoughts?

Cornstarch is traditionally slackened with water into a slurry, which ensures quick dispersion, and a smooth sauce. Flour is usually used with a fat, such as butter in Beurre Manie or in a roux to coat the particles. I'm guesing, but htis might be because cornstrach, because it does not have gluten, does not form a dough the way wheat flour does, so can be slackened with only a little water. With flour I guess you need more water, or to work quickly before the gluten hydrates and goes lumpy. I don't see why it should not work as a thin batter, however, the amount of liquid needed might dilute the sauce overmuch.


Edited by jackal10 (log)

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With extra yolk you can emulsify gallons of oil.

The yolks provide the emulsifier, but its the ratio of oil to water phase that determines thickness

The yolks provide some water, but not much, but enough to acccount for the extra half cup of oil.


Edited by jackal10 (log)

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Absolutely superlative, Jack. I'm going to print it out and insert it into my kitchen binder. (I've been trying to find a way to quote that Sydney Smith poem for about six months now. You found the perfect place!)

A note on slurries: I took a couple of Chinese cooking lessons from a lady from Hong Kong. She always mixed the cornstarch into the water with her forefinger. It's quicker than using a whisk and ensures no lumps.

Thanks again.


Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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What a great class!

The beurre blanc is one of my favorite sauces. I like to make them with various flavor infusions. I've done one with lemongrass and ginger which I served over fish en papillote on a bed of stir-fried veggies. One fantastic one that one of my classmates made was a tomato beurre blanc, where she cooked down tomatoes with the acid, shallots, and a bouquet garnis until the pan was dry before mounting with butter and straining. That one's good enough to eat straight out of the pot! I've also made them with corn, with an assortment of fresh herbs, with whatever looks good in the kitchen. It's a versatile sauce and it almost always goes well with fish...we eat fish but no meat or fowl in my house so I make it often.

I'm a believer in straining beurre blanc, but then I usually add a bouquet garnis and don't bother to put the aromatics in a sachet or a tea infuser...meaning they must be strained out.

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Jack-

Thanks for a wonderful tutorial. The sauces look wonderful especially the mayo and the Red Eye gravy.

Can you please elaborate on the following:

The terms “Cold Pressing”, “First Cold Press” or “Light Oil” may be descriptive, but are obsolete

Also I make mayonaise using a blender and sometimes a bowl and whisk when I am seeking the calming effect of the slow process. However, I've never seen anyone use a spoon to make it before, it's always a whisk. Does using a spoon serve any specific purpose??

One more question: I was under the impression that Rouille served with Bouillabaise (sp?) is always made with mashed potatoes, is that not the case?

thanks again

Elie


E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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Great class. It's nice to have all that information in so concise a format.

One question: you suggest two parts oil to one part vinegar for vinaigrette. That's probably close to the proportions I use (depending, of course, on the type of vinegar), but don't classic French vinaigrettes call for more like 4 parts oil to one part vinegar? Is it only a matter of taste preference, or does the proportion affect the emulsification, or the stability?


Janet A. Zimmerman, aka "JAZ"
Manager
jzimmerman@eGullet.org
eG Ethics signatory
Author, The Healthy Pressure Cooker Cookbook and All About Cooking for Two

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Jack, in the photos illustrating the red-wine pan-sauce, what kind of skillet are you using there? Do you find that, for deglazing-sauces, any particular material works best?

How much do those little bits and pieces from the steak add to the sauce? If, hypothetically, I made the same sauce in a clean pan, would it taste very different?

Also, what kind of time frame or ratio are we talking about in terms of reducing the wine? And is cream an acceptable substitute for butter?


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Morning all:

Can you please elaborate on the following:

QUOTE 

The terms “Cold Pressing”, “First Cold Press” or “Light Oil” may be descriptive, but are obsolete

The quote is taken directly from the International Olive Oil Council's definition. Although the oil may indeed be cold pressed, such terms do not have a formal, legal, definition, so their exact meaning can vary from one producer to another, and they cannot be relied on as a quality mark. They may have had a more formal meaning in some countries before 1990, when the current international terms were agred. Olive oil is very individual, and like wine, the taste varies from place to place depending on the soil, the microclimate and the producer. If you like the oil, stay with it.

Does using a spoon serve any specific purpose??

I've always used a spoon to make mayonnaise. I'm sure you can use a whisk if you want, but I use a spoon as I don't want to take the chance of incorporating air bubbles. McGee, in "On Food and Cooking" has an excellent discussion of the process, and points out that it is primarily the exisiting oil bubbles in the mixture that "mill" and break down the added oil into fine particles, with the spoon or whisk just acting to distribute the added oil evenly.

I was under the impression that Rouille served with Bouillabaise (sp?) is always made with mashed potatoes, is that not the case?

As I say in the lesson there are as many version of Rouille as there are cooks. I guess it is a bit like Brandade, where fillers, such as mashed potato or breadcrumbs are added to make it go further, and make the sauce a bit milder and smoother. The versions around Nice tend to be made from powdered spices without filler, while the ones from Marseilles are made with hot chili peppers and with bread or potato - traditionally a potato that has been cooked in the bouillabaisse. The version in Larousse, quoting Raymond Oliver has potato, fish or chicken liver, garlic, chillis, and no olive oil at all (" teaspoon of oil may be added if liked, but this is not essential, and may change the taste of the sauce"). All are "authentic".

you suggest two parts oil to one part vinegar for vinaigrette. That's probably close to the proportions I use (depending, of course, on the type of vinegar), but don't classic French vinaigrettes call for more like 4 parts oil to one part vinegar? Is it only a matter of taste preference, or does the proportion affect the emulsification, or the stability?

2 parts oil to 1 part vinegar is the maximum amount of vinegar (or equivalent) that the oil can take without danger of inversion, and hence the thickest vinaigrette. Less water-phase (vinegar) will give a thinner emulsion. It is indeed a matter of taste. I sometimes dress salad leaves with just EVOO.

Jack, in the photos illustrating the red-wine pan-sauce, what kind of skillet are you using there? Do you find that, for deglazing-sauces, any particular material works best?

The skillet is a non-stick pan made by Tefal, stainless with a copper bottom. Using a conventional pan would give more deposits, but would need more fat to cook the steak, and lead to more complaints from my partner doing the washing up. The skillet in the beurre blanc is a heavy solid copper pan I bought in France, ages ago. They cook wonderfully, but need re-tinning annually and are very heavy to lift and use. I have one solid copper pan that is silver plated - I think it was originally for flambe and use in the restaurant, and that is much easier to maintain.

How much do those little bits and pieces from the steak add to the sauce? If, hypothetically, I made the same sauce in a clean pan, would it taste very different?

The pan residues, for me, are the whole point of the sauce. They add flavour, especially the elusive "Umani" or meatiness, and more importantly the denatured protein acts as an emulsifier.

Also, what kind of time frame or ratio are we talking about in terms of reducing the wine? And is cream an acceptable substitute for butter?

The wine reduces over high heat for about a minute - I guess to half volume, or until it gets a bit syrupy.

And is cream an acceptable substitute for butter?

Heavy cream can be used, but it leads to a somewhat different sauce. Cream and wine sauces can be delicious. You should add the cream off the heat, as the fast boiling will split a cream based sauce. Also the acid in sauce, if it is a very acid wine, or if you add lemon juice, can split the cream. Cream tends to smooth out the flavours in the sauce, so the taste is different from a butter mounted sauce.

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I find that I like thickening my pan sauces with arrowroot starch. It's powdered extremely finely (nearly to the texture of confectioner's sugar), mixes in rapidly and doesn't lump. I just give a quick dusting of it, stir it in and then repeat as needed.


Bacon starts its life inside a piglet-shaped cocoon, in which it receives all the nutrients it needs to grow healthy and tasty.

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Jackal10, thank you for this superb tutorial.

I've been wanting to make mayo at home for the longest time, but I've been deterred by the risk of salmonella (my wife is eight months pregnant, so I don't want to take any chances). You seem to feel that this risk is exagerrated. Could you elaborate a bit on this?

Also, I recall reading in Peterson's Glorious French Food that egg yolks can be heated to a temperature that will destroy salmonella without destroying their capability to make mayonnaise. Your note one says something about Pasteurization-- but do you have any specific thoughts about this procedure's merits, or tips on how to go about doing it?

Thanks again.


"I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast;

but we like hot butter on our breakfast toast!"

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First a disclaimer: I am not a food scientist or a microbiologist or have any special medical knowledge. You should not rely on this advice.

However people have been making and eating mayonnaise for thousands of years (there is evidence from ancient Egypt), and the human race seems to have survived. I personally think that, providing you use good fresh eggs from a reputable source the risk is more theoretical than practical. Yes, salmonella is established in the national flock. Yes, it can cross the the shell barrier. However we eat many sorts of uncooked or lightly cooked eggs. as kids we dipped our bread soldiers in runny egg yolks, that are only runny because they are essentially uncooked and emerged unharmed. I feel there ior s much more risk in eating chicken breast, expecially if it has gone through extra factory processes like skinned, or being sauced or flavoured when raw.

Mayonnaise is very acid, so bugs have a hard time living in it.

McGee ("The Curious Cook") and Shirley Corriher have both written about techniques for pastuerisitng eggs.

To kill salmonellla you need to heat the egg to 160F for at least a minute. The trouble is that egg cooks at this temperature. However if you add acid (lemon juice or wine vinegar) the egg does not start to coagulate until 170C, so there is a slim margin of operation.

Here is a method similar to Corrihers.

You need a digital thermometer.

2 egg yolks

2 tsp white wine vinegar

1 tsp mustard

Put a metal basin over a pan or dimmering water.

Put the above ingredients in it.

Stir until the temperature is 160F. It will thicken a little, like lemon curd.

Use as fresh egg.

If you are really concerned, use another source of lecithin, such as granules from a health food store, and omit the egg yolk entirely.

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Some food for thought...ahem. In the US, at least 4 years ago when I read the reports, salmonella inside of eggs is larged confined to the NE, something to do with the ovaries being infected. The rest of salmonella poisoning came from sloppy food handling in professional kitchens where large vats of eggs mixed with other stuff sat out at room temp, and the bugs were most likely introduced after the eggs had been broken. Some countries, like Sweden, have removed salmonella from their flocks completely. The last time I was there, which was 12 years ago, they were selling eggs at room temperature.

regards,

trillium

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hi, thanks for all your hard work! It's obvious you love to cook.

What would be your choice in a RED sauce for soft shell crab? Thanks!

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What would be your choice in a RED sauce for soft shell crab? Thanks!

Can you give some more context? Hot or cold? How cooked or plated? Formal or informal?

I'm fond of an Asian chilli-garlic sauce as a dipping sauce, a big platter of fried steaming hot soft shell crabs, and some large napkins.

Plain Melted butter is good too, or a fresh salsa.

Following that theme, something like Sauce Choron (tomato hollandaise) or a beurre rouge (beurre blanc but made with red wine and maybe some extra tomato concasse, garlic, chilli should work.

You can always fall back on the old standby of Sauce Nantua.

These are more pink than red. For bright red you need a tomato based sauce, like ketchup.

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Thankyou, there are so many variations! I will try red wine, tomato, red pepper,

and a cherry/rasberry and I'll test them and see. This will be my January project. It

is a formal dish. I will do a deep fry in a light tempura mix of 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of water and 1/2 cup of ice. The picture will be soft shell cut in half like a crown with

the legs up. So I want a velvety sauce, somewhat sweet in contrast with the salty

crab. I will have a green herb mixed in celery root, and a couple of sauces on the side. I'll post with picture in January. Thanks again for your great cooking!

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