Hey folks! Are you having a good Sauce Week? There are still plenty of posts coming–two pesto posts, two hot sauce posts, two more chef posts and a post about Jean-Georges’ caper raisin sauce (which I served on top of scallops and cauliflower, yum)–but in the meantime, I’d like to know: What’s YOUR favorite sauce recipe? Share it in the comments and, who knows, maybe I’ll make one of them for next year’s Sauce Week. Stay saucy.
[One of my favorite people in the food world–actually, in the world period–is the brilliant writer/chef/pastry chef Gina DePalma, author of Dolce Italiano and former pastry chef at Babbo. If you’re not following her on Twitter or reading her blog, you really should; it’s excellent. And here she is with a sauce that’ll make all of you cheese-lovers swoon. Take it away, Gina!]
When Adam approached me about making a contribution to his Sauce Week, it didn’t take long for fonduta to spring up in my head as an ideal candidate. A classic recipe from Italy’s Northwestern region of Piemonte, fonduta isn’t exactly a sauce, but more of dish itself, yet it has all the qualities of a great sauce – it naps and slicks seductively, adds richness and flavor, and is so darn good it is hard not to pour it directly down your throat.
[Sometimes I think that Craig’s dad, Steve Johnson, writes more popular posts than I do when he’s at the helm of my site. Here he is, joining the Sauce Week fray, with a Lemon-Caper Beurre Blanc that I hope he makes for me the next time I visit Bellingham. Take it away, Steve!]
Several years ago, when I was developing a real interest in home cooking, my friend and I took an evening cooking class sponsored by our local community college. The recipes and instruction were from Joe Merkling, then chef of the restaurant at the Bellwether Hotel in Bellingham. The dishes he demonstrated that evening included Panko-crusted chicken breasts with a butter sauce. The sauce we made was a classic French beurre blanc (white butter), enhanced with lemon juice, capers and parsley. It was so delicious, so decadent and so rich that when Adam Roberts, The Amateur Gourmet, invited me to do a post during “Sauce Week”, I jumped at the chance. What a perfect excuse to make a sauce that uses a whole cup of butter, heavy cream and herbs!
[My friend Diana Fithian–playwright and home cook extraordinaire–kicks off Day 2 of Sauce Week with this epic post about one of the world’s most difficult and important sauces. Take it away, Diana!]
When Adam asked if Iʼd like to contribute to Sauce Week, and sent a list of sauces to choose from, there was one that jumped out at me right away: Espagnole Sauce, arguably the most time-consuming of the French mother sauces and the precursor to demi-glace. Itʼs part recipe, part exercise in masochism – first you make stock, then you make a brown sauce with the stock, then you reduce that sauce with more stock until you get demi-glace, and only then do you use the resulting demi-glace to make a handful of “small” sauces by combining it with other ingredients like mushrooms and wine.
I told Adam to sign me up.
A few months ago, when I first conceived of Sauce Week, I set out to make a dinner for myself that promised to be so outrageously decadent, I’d have to close my blinds before eating the first forkful. The premise was pretty basic–steak and potatoes–with one key difference. I was going to drench the whole thing in that most indulgent of French sauces, a sauce that contains more butter than most people eat in a month, yet a sauce so rich and sultry it’s pretty much the height of sophistication and elegance: I’m talking, of course, about Sauce Béarnaise.
A few months ago, I had an idea. “What if I devoted a whole week on my blog to sauces? Just posts about all different kinds of sauces and I enlisted my friends to make some sauces and I also made some sauces and, you know, it was just a whole week of sauces.” So I e-mailed my friends and some of them were like “you’re weird” but others were like, “Oooh, sign me up!” I also e-mailed a few chefs too, to ask for their favorite sauce recipes. And that’s how Sauce Week came together, a week that’s all about that most fundamental, classical part of cooking: sauce. So get your sauce-scraping spoons ready, it’s going to get saucy! Welcome to Sauce Week.