When you think of French food and classic French cooking you probably think of French sauces. And you are right to do just that! Sauce recipes are prevalent in French cooking. They are used not only as toppings for simply cooked foods (grilled meat or steamed vegetables for example), but also as ingredients within
Don't be scared off by those fancy names!
French sauces should not intimidate you. After you've made a sauce one time you will see how simple it can be. And the name can add elegance to your meal. Try calling macaroni and cheese,
Des Pates à la Sauce Mornay,
and see if your family notices the difference.
Types of Sauces
Classic French sauces can be categorized by how they are made. You will find several sauces all based on one sauce, called the
mother sauce (sauce mère).
Once you understand how to make the mother sauce, it is easy to do the variations. In fact, if you learn how to make a
bechamel sauce, a hollandaise sauce, and mayonnaise, you will be able to make dozens of different sauces (and hundreds of different dishes)!
is made by melting butter, stirring in flour and letting it brown some. It is the start of making many French sauces.
here, which is made by emulsifying oil with eggs. Emulsifying consists of gradually adding oil to another liquid so that the oil evenly disperses in tiny droplets throughout the
Aioli Recipe - Mayonnaise made with garlic. Use like you would mayonnaise. Great with chilled shrimp or hard boiled
Rémoulade Sauce Recipe - Mayonnaise with mustard, chopped capers, anchovies, pickles and herbs. If you eat raw celery root in France, it will most likely be
served in a remoulade sauce.
Tartar Sauce Recipe (Sauce Tartare) - Mayonnaise with chopped egg yolks,
chives, pickles and capers. Often served with fried fish.
Green Sauce (Sauce Verte) - A different green sauce from the one above. This one is made from mayonnaise that is flavored with herbs (parsley, tarragon, chervil, etc.).
These sauces are based on either chicken or fish (fond blanc) or meat stock (fond brun). The white sauce above is considered a stock sauce as well as a roux sauce. If you combine roux with beef stock you get a