When we go out to eat at our favorite restaurants our entrée is often lightly graced with some type of fancy sounding sauce. These sauces are designed to complement, contrast or otherwise add additional flavor profiles to your food. Without a doubt a great tasting sauce can take an average entrée and propel it up into the culinary stratosphere.
French cooking is known the world over for their wonderful sauces. However, all cuisines have their own claim to the sauce arena. The Italians are probably the next most well noted for sauce. Two interesting things about the Italians; 1: It was the Italians that taught the French to cook back in the early 16th century. 2: here in the United States, the Italians are best known for their tomato sauces, even though tomatoes did not exist in Italian cooking until well into the 19th century.
A good sauce is a concentration of flavors. Sometimes these flavors start with the leftovers of cooking your meal. Such as the bits of fond in the bottom of your fry/sauté pan or the water from your boiled potatoes or pasta. Gravy is a good example of this method, but a chef won’t call it gravy, it’s sauce.
Often we do not have the leftover fond and such so we need sauces with other flavor bases. Truly there are lots and lots of different kinds of sauces. Some take a long time to prepare and others are ready in short order. Here are some that will enhance your meal and are ready quickly. Remember, high quality ingredients yield high quality results. This is especially true with sauces because we are concentrating the flavors and if the flavors are just mediocre than the result will be concentrated mediocrity.
Tuscan Sauce for Grilled Steak
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tbl fresh squeezed lemon juice
Pinch of salt
Whisk to emulsify, and drizzle over plated grilled steak.
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup fresh parsley, rinsed and patted dry
2 green onions, chopped
1 Tbl red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
5 Tbl extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
Place all ingredients into your bullet and pulse until olive oil is emulsified.
Drizzle over grilled steak.
3/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup raspberry preserves
1 tbl brown sugar
Pinch of salt
Reduce vinegar to 1/3 cup, whisk in preserves, add sugar and salt. Simmer for a couple of minutes and taste for balance.
This sauce is great for almost any chicken breast or seafood recipe.