Sunday is class day for me and yesterday brought a different class: sauces,reductions and emulsions. Everybody loves sauces so how come so few people can really make them at home or even in the restaurant/food service business ? Now I might get in trouble for being critical of some of my peers but it is true, not all Chefs and cooks out there can make good sauces. Have you looked at most menus today ? It is a gastrique, demi glace and reductions everywhere and we have not even addressed the interpretation of each of these culinary terms ! Talk about a wild wild adventure in the professional kitchens of our country. What happen to integral sauces ? Ok,some of you who are not in my type of business might not know what that is. It actually is very simple,an integral sauce is a sauce made from the caramelisation of the juices left in the pan from the cooking of meats,poultry etc. What we are talking about is the true flavor of the chosen protein in the accompanying sauce. This process in sauce making actually produces the freshest and most acurate flavor derived from the cooking of that protein.
It's all in the sauce !
I get labeled "old school" quite often for using basic cooking principles that have served our culinary world very well for generations. More often than not you can find me babysitting a rich chicken stock for which I went to an out of the way store to get the right ingredients. What we are talking about is ( in this case) the feets,gizzards,necks which are rich in collagen. What's that ? Collagen is a protein in most animal carcasses which make a stock richer as it is very gelatineous. What do we need that in a stock ? Deep flavor, ease of reduction and texture in the sauce. Sounds complicated ? Not really,you can tell the difference when you taste it as it lingers (or not) in your mouth when you eat. The better the sauce, the greater your eating pleasure. Again, here is a case of less is more,meaning less quantity
should deliver more quality of flavor.
Forget about that stuff in the jar,real mayonnaise is IT !
Now you really know how I feel about sauces, back to the class yesterday.
Hot sauces,cold sauces,reductions,emulsions you name it,it was covered. Duck with cherry gastrique (I know,I know but it is the perfect sauce for it ) and the skin was real crispy too, real mayonnaise with tarragon roasted chicken,giant prawns Americaine style ( go ahead say it: more old school ?)
That would be just the right portion for me . No extra fingers needed !
I love shellfish cooked it the shell,that would be the perfect finger food for me,just get me that bibb and I won't care about looks (in this case mine).
The duck was just delish, not much choice for fruit this time of year but Bosc pears and frozen cherries were just fine with a touch of real pear brandy to finish it.
I love duck as you know,so just bring it !
Of course I had to have a wine reduced sauce to demo the "monter au beurre"technique and I did a good Bordelaise finished with fresh whole butter. More butter ? you bet, this time not for added fat but to soften the acidic flavor of the Bordelaise with a crank of the pepper mill and VOILA ! Perfect sauce for a peppercorn seared flat iron steak.
That pink beef looks just right !
Last but not least,emulsions come in the savory and sweet variety so being choice poor when it came to seasonal fruit I ended up with pears and strawberries (after 4 hours it seemed the simplest way to go).
Gratin of pears and strawberries.
A great afternoon it was and once again we demonstrated that with a little planning,work and know how you can cook at home a meal as good or in some cases better that any restaurants in town. This week end I am doing braising,steaming and poaching, perfect again for this time of year, flavor is the game.