Cold, warm or hot, sauces are the soul of our dishes! They can be used as an accompaniment or part of a recipe’s cooking process, especially for stir-fried, stewed or stewed dishes. More or less thick and creamy, simple or sophisticated, they add flavor to raw or cooked dishes.
French cuisine has an important tradition associated with sauces, dating back to the Middle Ages when they were used to preserve and enhance the flavor of meat and fish. We will have to wait until the 18the Century has the first classification of basic sauces and their derivatives, made by Antoninus fast and then updated Auguste Escoffier At the beginning of the 19the century that encoded the recipes in his famous Culinary Guide.
According to this classification, There are 5 mother sauces, Also called big sauces or head sauces. This is Basic preparations used as a starting point for the preparation of many other derived sauces, also called secondary sauces or small sauces. Do you know what mother sauces are? And what are the most commonly used sauces in the French tradition?
There are five mother sauces of French cuisine Bechamel sauce, veloute, Hollandaise sauce, tomato sauce and Spanish sauce. Here’s everything you need to know about these sauces, their ingredients, and their uses in cooking.
Béchamel sauce is made with three main ingredients: milk, flour and butter. It is made by thickening hot milk with white rice and can be flavored with nutmeg or other spices, depending on individual preference. Click here to find out the recipe.
Creamy and coated, its consistency can be adjusted to be more or less thick. This sauce is used in several recipes, to enrich gratin, lasagna, endive ham or croque monsieur.
Spanish sauce, also called brown sauce, is a sauce made from brown roux or cooking stock to which tomatoes and carrots, onions, chives, and bay leaves are added. This base sauce is used to make demi-glace and other derived sauces, such as Bordeaux sauce or Madeira sauce. Click here to learn how to make it at home.
Tomato sauce is one of the basic red sauces. It is made from quality tomatoes, cooked in a garnish of aromatic vegetables, with the addition of water or meat broth. Simmered for hours on low heat, this thick and flavorful sauce is used as a base for other derived sauces, such as Sauce de Provence or Sauce Portugese.
Velvet sauce is made with 3 simple ingredients: butter, white flour and white broth. Its preparation is similar to béchamel sauce, but velouté is made from gray, where the white broth replaces the milk. This sauce is often served with fish dishes, pasta or steamed vegetables. It is the basis of many other sauces, such as German sauce, superior sauce, and Norman sauce.
Hollandaise sauce consists of a hot emulsion of butter and lemon juice to which egg yolks are added. Click here for the full recipe for this delicious sauce.
Sour, gourmand and creamy, it is traditionally used to coat eggs benedict, but it also accompanies seafood and vegetables. Hollandaise sauce is used as a base to make other derived sauces, such as Béarnaise sauce or malt sauce.
Other French sauces
Therefore, these five mother sauces are the basis for making other derived sauces that are widely used in French cuisine. Here are a few.
German sauceAlso called Parisian sauce, it is made from a velvety white sauce thickened with cream and egg yolk and enriched with cooked mushrooms and lemon juice. We offer a recipe for cooking at home.
The ultimate sauce There is a velvety sauce reduced with fresh cream and whipped butter. This sauce usually accompanies poultry or fish dishes.
Berry sauce It is used for fish and is made with boiled meat or fish stock, marinated in white wine and shallots and dipped in butter.
Bordeaux sauceFrom the Bordeaux region, as its name suggests, Made with red wine, shallots, marrow bones, thyme, pepper, beef stock and demi-glace sauce. Click here to find out the recipe.
Gribish sauce is a cold sauce of French origin, made from mayonnaise, with the addition of ghee, capers and some aromatic herbs. For the recipe, here it is.
Bearnaise sauce is an emulsified and hot sauce derived from hollandaise sauce, made with clarified butter, egg yolks, shallots, tarragon and cardamom. It is traditionally served with meat dishes. Here is the full recipe.
The most commonly used sauces in the world
These French sauces are used and known all over the world. But beyond the culinary borders of France, it is possible to find other traditional sauces that belong to other culinary traditions. Here is a short overview of the most commonly used sauces in different gastronomic cultures around the world.
Teriyaki sauce It is one of the most commonly used spices in Japanese cuisine. It is a soy sauce enriched with mirin, sweet and thick, used to marinate meat and fish before grilling.
mole sauceTypical of Mexican cuisine and dating back to pre-Columbian times, this is a complex and rich sauce made with 22 different ingredients, a mixture of herbs, spices, chocolate and butter. Click here to learn how to make it at home.
BBQ sauce Born in the United States in the early 20th century. Made with tomato sauce, vinegar, spices, honey and pepper, it traditionally accompanies meat cooked on the bbq.
satay sauceIts sweet and sour taste is characteristic of the cuisine of Southeast Asian countries, with which it accompanies several traditional dishes. Creamy and delicious, it is made with peanuts, soy sauce, spices, ginger and garlic.
cumberland sauce Originally from Great Britain, it was created in honor of Prince William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland. It is a hot sauce made from port, citrus juice, spices, mustard and redcurrant jelly and is traditionally served with game or cold meats.
Also learn how to prepare Nantou sauce and morning sauce.
Also read: How to thicken the sauce?